Archive for Thursday, April 20, 2000

A battle awaits

Developer’s plan for Eudora manufactured home park faces snags

April 20, 2000

When city engineer Matt Taylor opened up the Lawrence Journal-World last Thursday, he was shocked to read news of a manufactured housing development coming to town.

Especially since the last time he heard from Tom Horner Jr., the proposed owner of the development, was last winter.

Horner "came last winter and informed us that he was working on a project," Taylor said. "Then he left and I hadn't heard much from him."

Horner is planning a 140-acre manufactured housing development to contain 400 to 500 lots. Occupants would own manufactured homes, but then pay rent to Horner. Though he may be beginning the preliminary stages of planning, there may be a few snags along the way.

"That's going to be the first move, to be annexed," said Tom Pyle, council member. "Until you get annexed, you can't request anything."

Though council member Dan Gregg said he's not against having another manufactured home park come to Eudora, he said he would not support annexation of the land.

"They'll have my attention and I'll listen to their concerns, but they're not going to have my vote," he said.

Gregg said an application has been sent to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for considering building an exit ramp at Winchester Road. KDOT prefers land adjacent to exits be zoned commercial. He said changing the zoning to residential would hinder the city's plans of acquiring an off ramp for Winchester Road.

"The intention of the city is to have that (land) a commercial area," Gregg said. "KDOT recommends that it is commercial. If this man goes in there, he essentially throws everything out the window that we've been working for."

The 140-acre spread of land for the purposed manufactured housing community lies north of K-10 highway and west of Winchester Road. The deal for the land has not been finalized, but Dennis Garrett, a member of the Ten-X-Land Co. that owns the property said the purchase is in its final stages. Garrett said an unspecified amount of money has been put down as a down payment for the near $1 million price.

"We have to consider it sold, unless something would come up," Garrett said. "He would either have to close or fold after a certain period of time. He's got plenty of time to get his zoning changed and his permits."

Taylor said if the land is annexed, Horner would then have to submit a petition to the planing and zoning commission to have the zoning changed to residential. It would then be subject to a public hearing on approval of the final plans for development. He said this is a conservative timetable, but without snags in the projects planning it would still be late September until the project could be totally approved.

Even though finalization of the project is distant with word on this development has caused some input from Eudora's residents.

"Everybody that I've talked to is dead set against it," Gregg said. "I've had several phone calls of people saying 'You're not going to let this happen are you?'"

Despite the concern, Pyle said the council would listen to all viewpoints when the issue is officially brought before the city.

"I've had some comments on it," Pyle said. "Some very much against it, and some saying that everybody needs a place to live. I feel that the council has to be open; you can't just shut somebody off whether you agree with it or not."

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