Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2003

Neighbors’ discussion not over

Public hearing continues for townhomes, shops

November 13, 2003

Confusion and misunderstandings about changes to a commercial and townhome development planned for south Eudora led city planners to extend a discussion of the Shadow Ridge addition into next month, when a public hearing allowing Eudorans to speak out will resume.
The Eudora Planning Commission heard from neighbors who would be affected by changes to a townhome neighborhood and small commercial center developers plan for the northwest corner of 28th and Church Streets.
Several Shadow Ridge residents at the meeting Nov. 5 said they were given the impression the land abutting their houses would be left as a drainage pond rather than developed for townhomes, even though developers said sales staff was aware of plans for the land.
A previously-approved plan for the site had fewer townhomes running on a through street and a green area between the units and existing Shadow Ridge homes. Developer Angie Solberg of Landplan Engineering said the new proposal put the townhomes on a cul-de-sac to prevent traffic cutting through the neighborhood, between 28th and Church streets, but in turn also increased their number.
Some area residents who spoke at the Nov. 5 meeting said they were more worried about the proximity of townhomes than they were with a small commercial development, even though the city's planning consultant, Sean Ackerson, said the townhome cul-de-sac was used to buffer single family homes from the commercial development. The neighborhood-service businesses like a dry cleaners or convenience store that the zoning calls for would also allow gasoline sales. Ackerson suggested 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. operating hours for the site.
But the townhomes were what concerned most of the residents who spoke out, citing the usual concerns of declining property value, traffic and ownership. Although Solberg said the townhomes were intended for owner occupancy, the developers had no control if owners chose to rent out the property.
Resident Mitch Johnson said he wanted his neighborhood to retain the same quality of life, and townhomes for rent might draw students and "people who don't' stay in the community very long."
Planning Commission member Glenn Bartlett pointed out that a lot of the residents' arguments were moot because townhomes and shops had already been approved for that site. But some residents insisted this was the first they'd heard of townhome development abutting their property.
"There's a lot of confusion out there," said fellow Commission member Rod Moyer, suggesting extending the discussion and giving the developer a chance to make changes. "Let the developer show fencing and landcaping (to separate the developments) and say, 'This is what we want to do for you and the community of Eudora.'"
The Commission looked at another recently-changed townhome/single-family addition to Shadow Ridge during the Nov. 5 meeting. Fellow Commission member Rose House said she was concerned with how many times already-approved Shadow Ridge developments came back to the city with changes.
"Nobody knows what's going on," she said. "I don't think that legal means right or moral."
After Solberg told neighbors she wanted to meet with them to clear up some of the confusion about the townhome/commercial development, the Commission decided to continue discussion and the public hearing at next month's meeting, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Eudora City Hall, 4 E. Seventh St.

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