Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2001

Proposed development not part of bigger plan

October 18, 2001

The proposed Peridian Group duplex development on a 13-acre central Eudora plot appears to be the wrong plan at the wrong time. We feel safe making that assessment because it runs counter to the city's comprehensive plan.

Comprehensive plans aren't documents to be amended to meet the exigencies of a single developer. They provide the blueprint for future growth that developers and homebuyers refer to when making significant investments.

That is not to say comprehensive plans should be inflexible. They should be amended to meet community needs and to find the most appropriate use of property.

Speaking for the developer, planning engineer Lance Johnson made both arguments to the planning commission last week. He argued that the duplexes would buffer existing single-family homes and Kansas Highway 10 and that Eudora needed more multi-family, affordable housing.

The developers are promising the duplexes will be "upscale townhouses." They won't be rentals, but will be sold for $120,000. Developers are also promising covenants that will help maintain property values. But as planning commission member Rod Moyer pointed out, the developer is admitting the townhouses will be located on an unappealing site overlooking a busy highway with its attendant noise.

We don't find the developer's arguments compelling enough to amend the existing comprehensive plan at the risk of devaluing the investment of Eudora homeowners. Traffic increases on 13th and 14th streets would create additional hazards on a road already scrutinized for heavy volume.

Eudora's Meadowlark subdivision and even larger homes in a development south of the highway in De Soto contradict the developer's contention that homebuyers won't purchase $150,000 houses near K-10.

We also question if Peridian's proposal is the most appropriate use of the property. A more appropriate use of the property would be additional commercial development along the K-10 corridor served by an extended frontage road. Such an office development would also buffer existing residential neighborhoods from the highway.

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