Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2007

Commissioners delay hiring of CR1 consultant

November 29, 2007

The next step in the process of improving over six miles of County Road 1 leading to a proposed interchange with Interstate 70 has been delayed, as Leavenworth County Commissioners postponed requesting bids for a planning consultant for the project.

The commission voted, 2-1, with Chairman J.C. Tellefson opposed, on Wednesday, Nov. 21, to wait for 60 days after either the final cost of the entire project is determined or until the county's comprehensive land-use plan meets final approval before releasing a request for proposals for the consultant.

The requests would have sought a consultant team to study the investment potential, the need for infrastructure improvements and a financing mechanism to recoup the currently estimated $10.8 million in countywide sales tax budgeted for County Road 1.

"I still want to see the final figures of what this is going to cost," Commissioner Clyde Graeber said as his reason for voting against the RFP.

Mike Spickelmier, deputy director of Public Works, said final plans from engineers at HNTB that include the cost of a tie-in with U.S. Highway 24-40 should be received in January.

Commissioner Dean Oroke said of the successful motion he made, "I feel that this will cover both the cost and what our comp plan reveals. : We can use those two documents to make a decision."

Tellefson argued that, with the comprehensive land use plan not up for approval until mid-May, it could be August 2008 before commissioners revisit the idea of hiring a planning consultant.

In response, Graeber noted, "Any motion can be amended, acted on and changed in any way," but he maintained his support for his vote.

In a Nov. 15 meeting, Graeber pointed to an estimate that planning bids could come back as high as $125,000.

He questioned whether hiring someone locally or using the county's "capable, knowledgeable planning and zoning staff" might be a better option than seeking an outside consultant.

Planning & Zoning Director Chris Dunn said his department does not have the staff nor expertise in-house to work with high-end developers. He spoke in support of seeking requests, explaining that there was no real cost associated with releasing the document.

"The county may reject any and all bids for any reason," Tellefson added.

Tellefson called the delay "very frustrating."

In other business Wednesday, the board:

¢ Received a briefing on the planned countywide communications upgrade from County Counselor David Van Parys.

Van Parys reported that a communications tower in Tonganoxie being funded by the Mid-America Regional Council has been erected and equipment is being installed there.

He also noted that, after meetings with the Pleasant Ridge School Board, another tower located near the district offices in Easton will not be moved from its current site, as originally planned, but will be replaced on-site due to an unfavorable load capacity.

The preliminary plat for another tower on Bauserman Hill, just west of Lansing city limits and south of Eisenhower Road, met Planning Commission approval in a Nov. 14 meeting.

Pending board approval of the Bauserman site, Van Parys said, the tower portion of the communications upgrade, which will utilize eight towers, should be complete.

¢ Met in executive session for 10 minutes to discuss pending litigation.

In business Monday, the board:

¢ Passed, 3-0, a resolution in support of retaining the current traffic signal at 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 in Basehor, after Bill New, vice chairman of the Leavenworth County Port Authority, and Chris Donnelly, with the Leavenworth County Development Corp., requested the commission take action.

Under the U.S. 24-40 Corridor Study, a 30-year master plan for the corridor that has been in the works since 2006, the Kansas Department of Transportation recommended a stoplight be installed at the intersection of U.S. 24-40 and 150th Street as well as at 158th Street, while 155th Street would be reduced to right-in, right-out access only.

Pointing to 155th Street as the main road and "lifeblood" for Basehor and with 158th Street being the site of two fatality accidents since 2004, New asked, "Is it such a terrible thing to have two stoplights in such close proximity?"

Leavenworth County Planning & Zoning Director Chris Dunn said the corridor study was not a legislative document.

"The whole purpose of the corridor study was to plan things out," he said. "Basehor still has a lot of self-determination," adding that city officials probably would not be able to procure corridor management funding from KDOT if the study's recommendations were not followed.

¢ Approved, 3-0, a line item adjustment for the Juvenile Justice Authority's 1st Judicial District. The adjustment reflects cessation of the JJA's multisystemic therapy program for youth offenders this year.

The action reallocated $133,737 budgeted for contractual, training and rental expenses and diverted a portion into personnel costs.

Anne DeShazo, an administrative contact with the JJA, said clinicians at The Guidance Center in Leavenworth would continue to provide some form of family-oriented, home-based therapy to youth offenders in the county but not under the officially certified multisystemic framework.

¢ Voted, 3-0, to retain Joe Herring with Herring Surveying to conduct a site survey of the approximately 1,600-square-foot plot near the Pleasant Ridge School Board building in Easton, where one of the county's communication towers is to be rebuilt.

¢ Voted, 3-0, to purchase a pickup-mounted snowplow from Kansas City, Mo.-based Kranz Auto Body at $3,583, installed.


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