Archive for Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bonner stamps Basehor request as worrisome

July 16, 2008

Bonner Springs officials got a surprise in the mail last month. It came in the form of a letter from the United States Postal Service informing City Manager John Helin that the city of Basehor had requested a number of properties in unincorporated Leavenworth County have their addresses changed from Bonner Springs to Basehor.

At the workshop session before its regular meeting Monday, Helin told the City Council, "My jaw dropped and hit the floor when I saw the letter."

That's because the cities had reached an informal agreement on future growth boundaries for the two municipalities at a joint meeting Nov. 28, 2007. The agreement was that the future growth area of Basehor would not go south of Interstate 70, which the address changes requested in the letter from Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia contradict.

Helin's report to the Bonner Springs City Council on the matter said he called Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh after reading the letter from the Postal Service, and Slaugh told him the Basehor council members had changed their minds on I-70 being an informal growth boundary.

Helin said he was shocked, "not because they changed their mind, but because they didn't tell us."

The letter from Garcia to the Kansas City, Mo., address-management system office of the Postal Service states that the two cities had reached an informal agreement on the future Basehor growth areas that would allow the inclusion of the 14200-19899 span of Kansas Avenue, just south of I-70.

"This brings up some very serious concerns," said council member Jeff Harrington.

That's because, he said, the joint meeting between the two councils did not reach an agreement on the issue of what Basehor's responsibility should be to its lower-lying neighbor in regard to stormwater runoff.

Helin said the issue of which town appears on mailing addresses was "more about what it appears as," and that the incident seems to show the cities had gone "a step backward" since their joint meeting.

Mayor Clausie Smith was optimistic the dispute could be resolved and both he and Helin agreed with Harrington's proposal that the city managers and mayors of the two towns should have a small meeting.

Council member Jerry Jarrett wasn't so quick to be placated.

"This just lets us know, you have to be careful who you're dealing with," he said.

The misstatement in Slaugh's letter to the Postal Service in fact owed to a misunderstanding, said Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia on Wednesday.

Garcia said Slaugh told him after talking with Helin, "I didn't word that quite right."

As for Basehor's intentions for its future growth boundaries, Garcia said its City Council was not unified on the issue, with one council member wanting to enlarge the city's future growth boundaries south all the way to the Kansas River.

Basehor's comprehensive plan has I-70 as the southern boundary for its future growth, Garcia said, while the comprehensive plan for Leavenworth in fact shows Basehor's growth area stretching just south of Kansas Highway 32 west of 142nd Street.

Garcia stressed the ultimate decision for the area in contention between the two cities would be up to Leavenworth County commissioners.

"I have no problem sitting down with Clausie and Jack (Helin)," Garcia said, but he said he also thought county commissioners should be in on the discussion, keeping in mind that there would be a new county commissioner for the 3rd District - which encompasses Basehor and part of Bonner- in January, as Dean Oroke is not running for re-election.

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