Archive for Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Council begins debate over new development

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

December 4, 2013, 2:56 p.m.

Updated: December 4, 2013, 2:56 p.m.

Basehor City Council members are having second thoughts about a proposed affordable senior housing development.

Prairie Fire Development and Management Company has sought council approval to seek state tax credits for a proposed Section 42 housing unit near the intersection of Amber Street and 155th Street. The complex would hold 48 units, and be limited to people 55-years-old or older. Developers of Section 42 housing pay reduced taxes in exchange for providing housing for those on low or fixed incomes. The income cap would be $30,000 for an individual and $34,000 for a couple.

On Monday, the council seemed to take a couple steps back from its initial consideration of the company’s proposal.

At the November council meeting, despite some concerns voiced by several members, the council agreed to consider the complex as an item on the Dec. 16 consent agenda. The company will make a final presentation seeking approval on that date.

Company’s co-owner Kelley Hrabe told the council in November that the company can apply for the state tax credits if the city makes it clear it’s willing to consider the complex.

Monday night, councilors Dick Drennon and Vernon Fields spoke up.

Drennon said he is “completely against it.” He knocked on doors in the affected residential area off 155th Street, he said, and found that people are unhappy with the prospect of such a large housing complex being built near them.

“They’re worried about the value of their houses dropping,” Drennon said.

Fields reiterated past concerns about the restrictiveness of the Sect. 42 housing plan and its potential to exclude many of the senior citizens currently living in Basehor.

“My concern is having something built here but not having our people being able to take advantage of it,” Fields said.

Despite the unanticipated debate, the council decided not to reject the proposal until they hear the Dec. 16 presentation. City Administrator Lloyd Martley made clear that even if the proposal for the housing complex is approved for consideration this month, the construction plans would still have to go through the planning commission and the city council for final approval.

Council member Ty Garver added that the council is still waiting on some information and has no concrete idea about what the complex could look like.

“I’m probably going to support them until we see all the facts,” Garver said.

In other business:

• The council decided to move forward with a concept for an expanded city park that includes 115 parking spaces, a tennis court and several additional gazebos. The concept, for which there is no cost estimate yet, will be added to the city’s comprehensive plan if approved then discussed in the 2014 budget retreat, tentatively scheduled for the end of March.

“As we develop this and get this going, we can add or take away wherever needed,” Martley said.

• The council supported an agreement allowing the Briarwood Estate Subdivision, 15280 Briar Road, to use a grinder pump in its sewer system that connects to the city’s system. Grinder pumps do not meet city code but the city will sign off on an agreement that releases the city from any claims or demands relating to the pump. The item will be up for approval at the Dec. 16 regular council meeting.

• The council supported the annexation of the Briarwood Estate Subdivision as required by state statues. The three lots located off Briar Road are subject to final annexation when a resolution declaring the new boundaries of the city is presented Dec. 16.

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