Leavenworth County, Tonganoxie talks off as CR1 land-use study delayed
Leavenworth County commissioners have withdrawn their request for direct talks with the Tonganoxie City Council to work out the latest differences regarding the County Road 1 corridor.
County commissioners agreed May 3 to schedule a face-to-face meeting to resolve substantial differences between draft request for proposals for a CR1 land-use study written by Tonganoxie city representatives and Leavenworth County staff members. At that time, commissioners cited the usefulness of a joint meeting in March in helping end a nearly two-year impasse over CR1 interlocal agreements concerning guidelines for regulating development in the corridor and Tonganoxie’s financial contribution for improvements to the road completed late last year.
Commissioners J.C. Tellefson and John Flowers, however, decided Thursday no joint meeting was needed at this time (Commissioner Clyde Graeber was not at Thursday’s commission meeting).
In doing so, the two commissioners said the discussions with Tonganoxie could wait until the completion of what is now a completely separate RFP for a marketing study of two undeveloped industrial parks in the county. Those two sites are the city of Tonganoxie’s 237-acre industrial park in the northern section of the CR1 corridor and a 13-acre park the city of Leavenworth is developing on the railroad between Kansas Highway 7 and the Missouri River.
The CR1 land-use study and industrial sites’ marketing study were linked when the Leavenworth County Port Authority — at the request of the county commission — agreed in March to provide up to $25,000 for both studies. The city of Tonganoxie has agreed to provide a matching sum for its share of the CR1 land-use study.
However, the city and county have yet to agree on the scope of the land-use study with the Tonganoxie City Council asking that it recommend future land uses and development standards — details the county’s draft RFP doesn’t include.
On May 26, the Port Authority board unlinked the two studies so that the industrial site marketing study could go forward.
Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez, who attended the port authority meeting, said the actions were prompted from a City of Leavenworth representative’s concern the study for that city’s industrial park was in limbo while the county and Tonganoxie debated the land-use study.
With the decision Thursday, it was not clear whether the port authority would help fund the CR1 land-use study when the city and county agreed to its scope, Yanez said.
Yanez and Tonganoxie City Councilman Jason Ward, who was on the city CR1 negotiation team, said they still wanted a face-to-face meeting with commissioners to resolve differences about the land-use study.
“I still think a group meeting is the way to go,” Ward said. “When it comes down to making decisions and moving forward when you have multiple parties involved, it’s just best to get them all in one room.”
Ward said the industrial site’s marketing study only would provide information on 237 acres of the nearly 12-square-mile CR1 corridor.
“It’s not going to ask questions about what’s going to happen along the rest of CR1,” he said. “Hopefully, when the RFPs for the two industrial sites come back, we’ll learn we need something more encompassing.”
The recently signed CR1 interlocal agreement calls for a land-use study by 2014. Should that not happen, the agreements are void, and with it the city’s commitment to provide the county $1.5 million during the next 10 years for last year’s CR1 improvements.
The 2014 deadline gives the city and county plenty of time to work out differences about the land-use study, but Yanez said he would like the city and county to keep making progress on it.
“Eventually, this recession is going to end,” he said. “We don’t want to wait too long. Otherwise, we’ll be playing catch-up with a developer.”