Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Council turns thumbs down on proposal

June 20, 2007

There will not be 22 new housing units in the Honey Creek Farms subdivision anytime soon.

Monday night, Basehor City Council members voted, 4-0 to side with the Planning Commission's recommendation to deny a revised development plan for Lot 1, Block 6 of the subdivision.

The original development plan, which was approved in 2003, called for 16 single-family slab homes on the tract of land bordered by Sheehan Road on the north, 168th Street to the west, Freeman Street on the south and Pinehurst Drive on the east. The revised plan sought to add six more units, including duplexes for purchase or for rent.

As they did at the Planning Commission earlier this month, residents from the subdivision were out in full force to oppose the revised plan. After handing council members a petition signed by nearly all residents and recent photos of the problems in the subdivision, Stephanie Harris, spokesperson for the group, emphasized some of the main reasons they opposed more rental properties in the area. An increase in crime at existing duplexes was among them.

"I have personally seen three stakeouts by the Basehor Police at the duplexes in the year we have lived here," she said. "Just last night seven mailboxes were smashed by a baseball bat in our subdivision."

Donald Dyster, builder on the Basehor Commons project, said special steps would be taken to try to attract the 55-and-older crowd, such as installing showers and sinks that are approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as a walking trail with a gazebo in the middle of the development.

As a planned urban development, Basehor Commons could have built any number of housing units, he said. However, instead of choosing a multistory apartment building, he wanted to build slab homes that would fit in with the surrounding neighborhood as well as appeal to the 55 and older crowd.

"The worst thing that can happen to an addition is nothing," he said. "The growth out there has been stymied. What I would like to put there would complement the overall addition."

Homeowners continued to disagree, voicing concerns about increased density and a possible increase in traffic.

One resident said he counted 49 cars pass by his house near the entrance of the subdivision in a 30-minute span and feared that many new units would triple the traffic.

Another resident said 22 homes on the tract would look crowded and less expensive than existing homes.

Other concerns raised included a decrease in property values and problems with too many vehicles parked on the streets.

"The owners purchased with the promise that this would be single-family dwellings," Harris said. "We were told there was not going to be any rentals. It's a mess and we just don't want it anymore."

Dyster said the reason for the increase in housing units was to keep costs down. Putting fewer homes on the property would cause developers to price 1,300-square-foot homes at $225,000 and up, which would most likely not attract the desired clientele.

"I wouldn't put anything in there that is going to devalue any property around it," he said. "I think this helps with the overall addition. I'm not asking for anything that hasn't been done before and looks nice."

A proposed increase in density from 4.44 units per acre to 6.09 units per acre and a decrease in setbacks -- the space between homes -- from 10 feet to 7 feet also had council members concerned. Council president Terry Thomas said a 50 percent increase in density and a 30 percent decrease in setbacks was the basis of his motion for denial.

"To me that is too much," Thomas said.

Basehor Planning Director Dustin Smith said the original development plan of 16 single-family slab homes still stands as approved. He also said the developers has not indicated when or if they will submit another revised development plan.

In other action Monday night, the council:

  • Approved, 4-0, with Keith Sifford absent, the preliminary and final plat for First Baptist Church.
  • Approved, 4-0, the final development plan for the Medicine Store, to be located on Lot C-5 of the Pinehurst North Subdivision (southeast corner of the roundabout).
  • Approved, 4-0, the appointments of the Park Advisory Board members Judy Goens, Marjorie Barlow and Cindy Bartko.
  • Approved, 4-0, the recognition policy for city employees.
  • Approved, 4-0, a Kansas Department of Transportation economic development grant application for a reverse frontage road between 155th Street and 158th Street.
  • Approved, 4-0, the Leavenworth County Development Corporation annual contribution of $6,154 for 2008.
  • Approved, 4-0, equipment items including a truck bed, salt/sand spreader and a snowplow for the public works department not to exceed $23,000.
  • Approved, 4-0, an agreement with the state Department of Administration for collection of bad debt and authorize administrative staff to automatically file bad debt for utility billing, municipal court fines and any other debt authorized by the Accounts Receivable Setoff Program.
  • Approved, 4-0, a bid of $123,500 from the Holland Corp. for asphalt overlay on Hollingsworth Road.

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