Archive for Thursday, October 17, 2002

Renters bring assets to community

October 17, 2002

Earlier this month, the Eudora Planning Commission voted not to recommend a development near Shadow Ridge that would have brought multi-family housing to that neighborhood. Another 40 acres is still up for debate.

As with last year's application to build town homes between 14th Street and Kansas Highway 10 near the Whispering Meadows plat, it appears to be the right decision. Until Mayor Ron Conner gets his hoped-for four-lane improvements to Church Street south of Kansas Highway 10, the proposed apartments would create traffic concerns on a road that is already the site to the community's high school and will soon be home to its middle school.

It is understandable that those who would live near apartments and town homes would have concerns. Still, it was disappointing to hear some of the opponents at the Oct. 2 hearing suggest renters are less-desirable neighbors who are noisier, dirtier, more prone to crime and less responsible than homeowners. It was also suggested people who rent were less interested in the community and wouldn't make the kind of neighbors residents want living beside their homes or schools.

It's a good guess that most of those speakers were once renters. Very few of us are fortunate enough to move from our parents' home into a home of our own. They should know renters come in as many varieties as homeowners.

Owners of rental units have a similar motivation to keep up property as do homeowners. The more attractive rentals are, the higher the return on their investment. It's illogical to think a developer of an expensive multi-family complex would allow the property to go into disrepair.

Planners always speak of a good mix of housing, and well-planned multi-family housing offers much to communities. Quality town homes can attract upscale residents who can contribute much to the community and who may decide to make a permanent investment in the city. Apartments offer an opportunity to keep the community's ever-growing young population at home as they commute to nearby jobs. Those upset with property taxes and Eudora's lack of a commercial tax base should keep in mind multi-family housing is taxed at the 25 percent commercial and industrial level and not at the 11.5 percent residential rate.

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