Archive for Wednesday, November 5, 2008

County begins CR1 negotiations

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

November 5, 2008

Let the negotiations begin.

An initial draft of an interlocal agreement for development of Leavenworth County Road 1 is now in the hands of the Tonganoxie City Council to mull over before sending it back to the Leavenworth County Commission.

“This is literally the first of 100 steps,” County Counselor David Van Parys said. “I don’t have a final plan. I don’t think the city has a final plan, I don’t think anybody has a final plan.”

The initial draft is divided into 12 different sections that Van Parys said would consider the scope of the plans and any organization that would formulate the plan, and also define the level of participation between the county, the city and any other interested party.

Section 4 of the initial draft examines the creation of a joint planning commission that will be in charge of the development. The draft calls for the seven-member commission to be composed of three members of the county’s planning commission and three members of the city’s planning commission, with the last member chosen by the other six members.

Van Parys said the commission would be in charge of making sure the land abutting County Road 1 develops properly, but to also keep in mind the wishes of the landowners.

“This (county) commission has consistently, from the start, made it very clear that our main philosophy – aside from the best development along the corridor – is to protect the current interest of the property owners and not create any scenario that would drive the property owner into development; rather, letting the market and the property owner make that determination,” he said.

The other main goal of the commission is to determine how to distribute funds and costs between the city, county and any other interested party as development occurs. It would also be in charge of making sure revenue still would funnel back to the county even if the city annexed part of the area.

“I still want to preserve that financial income stream until such time that we have recovered our $8.5 million” county taxpayer investment in County Road 1 upgrades, Commissioner J.C. Tellefson said.

Tellefson also said he was in favor of sharing the cost and revenues between the county and the city based on a percentage of money contributed to the project.

Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez, and Ralph Lewis and Larry Winn, attorneys representing landowners on County Road 1, were also in the audience.

Yanez told the commission he was there simply as an observer and he would meet with city leaders later on to discuss the draft.

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