Bonner, Basehor dispute unresolved
Mayors, adminstrators can’t agree on cities’ future growth boundaries
Tensions between Basehor and Bonner Springs over the future growth boundaries for each town are still running high.
During the workshop before its regular meeting Monday evening, Bonner Springs City Manager John Helin told the City Council he was "pretty disappointed" at the outcome of a July 31 meeting he and Mayor Clausie Smith attended with Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia and Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh.
The meeting was to discuss Basehor's efforts to have some addresses in unincorporated Leavenworth County that have Bonner Springs postal addresses be changed to Basehor addresses, and the recent announcement by Basehor that it would not stick to an informal agreement the two cities had struck in November. That agreement would have made Interstate 70 the boundary for Bonner Springs' northward future expansion and Basehor's southward expansion.
"My head almost exploded," Helin said. "It was a very frustrating meeting."
A basic point of misunderstanding on Basehor's part, Helin said, was that "future growth just means responsible planning. I pointed out it's not about annexation, but planning : My head's sore from that brick wall I've been beating it against."
Garcia has another take.
"I don't know why the Bonner Springs is asking the city of Basehor to make an agreement," Garcia said later. "It's not the city of Basehor's land or growth area to give, and the decision should go through the Leavenworth County commissioners."
Calls prompted request
Garcia said his city's request to the U.S. Postal Service was prompted by calls from residents at the addresses in question. The callers, Garcia said, complained their insurance rates were higher because their insurers considered them to be living in Wyandotte County because of their 66012 ZIP code.
Helin told the Bonner Springs Council that in addition to Basehor's refusal to negotiate an agreement, Slaugh had the "chutzpah" to ask for Bonner's support of its address-change request.
The meeting ended with Slaugh and Garcia refusing an agreement of any kind to establish Interstate 70 as a boundary for Bonner's northern and Basehor's southern growth areas.
Helin wrote in his report that Basehor was not required to have its comprehensive plan "mimic" that of Leavenworth County, as Garcia and Slaugh believed.
"We told them that none of the three counties we are in (Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Johnson) had anything to do with the creation or approval of our comp plan - but apparently we were unconvincing."
Also, Helin said, Garcia and Slaugh stated that Basehor had informal agreements with Lansing and Tonganoxie for future growth boundaries and that it was possible to have such agreements with those cities because they're in Leavenworth County and Bonner Springs is in Wyandotte County. The fact that Bonner is partly in Leavenworth County did not convince them, Helin said.
Helin said Kansas statute 12-2901 empowers local municipalities to make interlocal agreements. The statute states it permits "local governmental units to make the most efficient use of their powers by enabling them to cooperate with other localities, persons, associations and corporations on a basis of mutual advantage and thereby to provide services and facilities in a manner and pursuant to forms of governmental organization that will accord best with geographic, economic, population and other factors influencing the needs and development of local communities."
"We're just trying to identify future growth areas," Helin said. "It really only kind of impacts future planning for future infrastructure : You don't want to lay a water line on one side of the road and then have the other guy lay one on the other side."
County backs Basehor
Chris Dunn, director of planning for Leavenworth County, backed up Garcia and Slaugh's position.
"The county is the one that sets the comprehensive-use plan," he said Tuesday, "as long as it's rural."
Furthermore, though he couldn't give a legal opinion, Dunn said, "I don't think Basehor can give away responsibility for areas under our jurisdiction."
Dunn said the county spent a year in the process of devising its comprehensive plan and taking public input on it, and if Bonner Springs city officials had a problem with the plan "they sure forgot to tell the county about it."
The comprehensive plan for Leavenworth shows Basehor's growth area stretching just south of Kansas Highway 32 west of 142nd Street.
"We were never invited to participate in their process," Helin said. "That's some of our frustration: We're in Leavenworth County and we're treated like we don't exist."
Although Bonner's footprint in the county constitutes a small portion of it and the town is mostly outside the county, "we should be treated like any other" town in it, Helin said. "I can tell you Johnson County treated us" like its other cities, and invited Bonner to participate in its future growth planning, despite the fact that the only part of Bonner Springs that is in Johnson County is the industrial park east of Kansas Highway 7, just north of Shawnee.
On the ultimate consequences of Basehor's refusal to settle on an informal agreement for each town's future growth boundary, Helin said, "it just sort of leaves it (future planning for the area) in limbo."
As for possible changes in mailing addresses, Smith and Dunn agreed that Postal Service decisions won't affect which school district or town those homes are officially located in.
- Basehor Sentinel reporter Lara Hastings contributed to this story.