CR1 development topic for officials, local owners
County Road 1 has been opened and by the end of the year Leavenworth County will have its first interchange to a U.S. interstate.
But before the moratorium on development expires in December, and development possibly starts to move into the area, city and county leaders want to make sure they are prepared.
On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Leavenworth County Planning Commission, along with the county’s planning and public works departments and the City of Tonganoxie, played host to an informational meeting for residents along CR1 to discuss its future.
The Tonganoxie VFW was filled with residents wanting to hear county officials discuss a proposed special development district that will help guide development once the moratorium expires Dec. 31. The proposed district will extend to the same area covered by the moratorium.
“The regulations specific to CR1 are designed so a developer can’t come in and do whatever they want and all of a sudden you’ve got a dairy farm next to an oil rendering plant or some other situation of incompatible use,” stated a document given to the landowners about the draft SDD plan. “The plan has been designed and reviewed with the goal of preventing this in the least intrusive way possible.”
Leavenworth County Commissioners have said one of their main goals was not to interfere with how people currently use their land. They have said the county will not force them to comply with any new regulations as long as the use for the land doesn’t change.
For example, a person who owns a home on some land along CR1 will be able to make additions to the home or build external buildings on the property as usual. But if that person changes the residential use of the land to a commercial use, the SDD’s regulations would then need to be adopted.
One thing that will not be allowed is to split a lot if the split results in a lot less than 10 acres.
During the meeting, Mike Spickelmier, the county public works director, said the 10-acre size was chosen as a compromise between the city and the county as the minimum size in which commercial development could take place.
Karen Fish, who owns land on County Road 1, said the county was putting the cart before the horse when it came to creating this special development district instead of having a comprehensive land- use plan for the area.
“This is useless without a land-use study being done first,” Fish said. “If I don't know if I'm zoned, multi-use, residential or ag, then what is the point?”
Steve Rosenthal, County Planning Commission Chairman, agreed with Fish’s remarks.
“Land use plan is something that we do absolutely have to have,” he said. “I think it’s something that we have to have in that area. This (SDD) is just a stopgap until we can get a land use plan and I think it’s the money to do the land use plan is the problem.”
County commissioners were in talks with RED Development to create a comprehensive land use plan, but the $150,000 price tag became a point of contention among the commissioners.
No money for the plan was put in the county’s budget for 2010.
The Leavenworth County Planning Commission will meet 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 at the Leavenworth County Courthouse to finalize the SDD plan before handing it to the county commissioners for approval.