Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2007

Public hearing next step in Towne Center plans

Council to consider establishing redevelopment district

March 8, 2007

A public hearing is scheduled for next month as the city continues its quest to land a development deal for Towne Center and its environs that would be anchored by a large home-improvement store and a grocery store.

Lansing City Council members last week unanimously - and almost without discussion - approved a resolution that establishes an April 5 public hearing on the establishment of a redevelopment district.

After the 6-0 vote - Council members Janette Labbee-Holdeman and Harland Russell were absent - City Administrator Mike Smith reminded council members they hadn't approved the redevelopment district.

"This establishes the public hearing to be held April 5 for the redevelopment district," Smith said.

Establishment of the district is another in a series of steps toward arranging tax-increment financing for the development of Towne Center and an area north across West Mary Street to Kay Street.

A TIF, as it is called, looks at how much tax revenue a particular area is generating today, and then looks at how much tax revenue it generates once the project is complete. The additional tax dollars generated by the project are captured and set aside to pay for public infrastructure related to the project, such as at-grade parking, streets or groundwork produced by the city to facilitate the project.

The developers could borrow money, either privately or through a sale of municipal bonds, and receive the TIF funds over a designated period, up to 20 years.

A group of Kansas City-area developers is interested in developing Towne Center and its environs. Already, they have a contract signed with Lowe's, a national home-improvement retailer, to locate in the center. The developers also are in negotiations with Hy-Vee, an Iowa-based grocer, to also anchor the center.

The developers have not yet laid out to the city how much they hope to receive from the proposed TIF.

Smith said he expected those details to be laid out once the council conducts the public hearing and considers establishing the development district.

In other business last week, the council:

¢ Heard an update on the Main Street System Enhancement project from Ken Miller, the city's Main Street project liaison. Miller told council members the project would continue in earnest as the weather continues to get better.

¢ Heard a report from Tony Kramer, president of Leavenworth Area Development Corp., about the economic development group's activities for the past quarter.

¢ Heard a report from City Clerk Sunshine Petrone about joining the state's Setoff Program for collecting delinquent sewer accounts and instituting a $75 deposit for all new sewer accounts. The council will vote next month on an ordinance outlining the changes.

¢ Approved, 6-0, hiring Professional Engineering Consultants, Topeka, to conduct a sanitary sewer rate study. PEC submitted a bid of $24,750 for the study.

¢ Approved, 6-0, an ordinance to correct a legal description contained in an ordinance that annexed parkland into the city. Public Works director John Young said when title work was being done, the mistake was made. The new ordinance repeals the original ordinance and makes the correction.

¢ Learned from City Administrator Mike Smith that there would be a joint city-school board study session at 6 p.m. April 9 at Lansing Middle School. The session will precede the regular monthly school board meeting.

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