Road program moving forward in Basehor
With the green light from residents between Donahoo and Hollingsworth roads, the Participatory Road Program is moving along on 147th Street.
The program was first presented to county residents in October, offering the county’s services to upgrade certain sections of gravel road to chip-seal if landowners agree to donate their easements. The county will provide the surveying, engineering, materials, equipment and labor as long as residents agree to relocate any fencing, structures or personal items from within 40 feet of the road’s centerline, according to the program’s guidelines.
Collecting affidavits of participation, or a pledge to donate the right of way, from all affected landowners is the first step in the county’s process, said Mike Spickelmier, director of Public Works. Now that a section along 147th Street has reached the full participation required of landowners, engineering and surveying can begin, he said.
Spickelmier said he has also begun drafting the interlocal agreement needed for the section because the work will span from county land on the west side of the road to Basehor city on the east side along the Falcon Lakes subdivision.
Jon Gallion, Basehor Planning Commission vice chair, said one of the possible hindrances he sees for the project is a lack of understanding and communication between the county and affected landowners.
“A big piece of it is communication and making sure people understand the impact to them, both positive and negative impact,” he said.
Gallion lives on Donahoo Road, which is gravel, but would benefit from the upgraded route into Basehor, he said. Paving the road would not only create a more convenient route for all residents, but would also reduce the dust in the area, he said.
“More paved roads is a benefit to the entire county,” he said. “Whether it’s a business or residence, people are more inclined to buy a piece or property (along a paved road).”
Marty Streiff, Falcon Lakes Golf Course owner, has signed the affidavit for his stretch of land between Donahoo and Hollingsworth roads, which runs along the golf course, but admits he had some concerns before agreeing. Streiff said he and other landowners wondered why the county wasn’t going to buy the easements as it usually does when upgrading roads. He was also curious as to why the county wanted about 40 feet of access for the easement, because it seemed like a lot of land to forfeit.
Spicklemier said those were common concerns he heard from residents and clarified that the easement does not grant the county permanent ownership or control of the easement, solely the permission to make the necessary upgrades and modernizations necessary in conjunction with the project.
When upgrading a road from gravel to chip-seal, ditches and a clear zone, or buffer of unobstructed land in case someone runs off the road, are required modernizations, he said. After the project is completed the easement is transferred back to the landowner, usually a year from the completion date.
Although common practice is for the county to buy the easements, the program asks residents to donate them so the county can upgrade the roads for significantly less time and money.
Streiff said despite any prior concerns, upgrading the gravel road will not only improve the conditions on his course, which is affected by the dust, but it will also be an upgrade in quality of life for anyone living along the road. As someone interested in a permanent residence in that area, Streiff said, an upgraded roads also makes living and buying a home there more attractive.
Gallion said he’s also heard concerns from his neighbors who are landowners on 147th Street. One neighbor, he said, wasn’t interested in participating when he heard obstructions in his easement would have to be removed. But after thinking it through, he realized the benefits of a paved road would outweigh any extra requirements.
Gallion said another benefit of upgrading the road is the increase in property values, and not necessarily taxes, which also improves affected landowners’ stake in the project.
“There are a lot more positives than negatives,” Gallion said.
So far, the county is still missing eight affidavits between Donahoo and Leavenworth roads and about 20 between Leavenworth and Parallel roads for the 147th Street project. It’s missing eight affidavits between 147th and 155th Street on its Hollingsworth Road project.
Because the program is participatory, unless 100 percent of affidavits are received, the county won’t upgrade the road. Residents also benefit from signing affidavits as soon as possible, as the program works on a first come, first served basis. Spicklemier said work for the Participatory Road Program would begin in 2014 at the earliest.
For more information about the program, or to see the county’s progress in collecting affidavits, visit leavenworthcounty.org and click on documents under the “Public Works” tab.