Plan needs commercial development, leaders say
Eudora's comprehensive plan needed to consider commercial development more thoroughly, city leaders said, before it received final approval. The Eudora City Council will revisit the plan at an upcoming meeting, after changes have been made to further lay out a plan for commercial development in Eudora.
At the Sept. 22 Eudora City Council meeting, Mayor Ron Conner said that would mean updating two maps -- those addressing future land use and zoning -- before bringing the issue back for approval. When the Council looked at a draft of the plan at its most recent meeting, member Tom Pyle said he didn't see enough planning for industrial or commercial development, both of which bring in sales tax and property tax revenue to the city. Moreover, he said, they created jobs in Eudora.
"I think there has been neglect in the past," he said. "You can't force businesses to come to Eudora, but once they come we shouldn't be turning them away."
Sean Ackerson, the city's planning consultant, said the current draft planned for commercial development focused on the Kansas Highway 10 corridor because access to the roadway would be important. Development on Douglas County 1061/Church Street, would have more of a traffic impact. Moreover, he said commercial development would potentially have room to grow near Eudora's east interchange with K-10, Douglas County 442/10th Street, and toward Winchester Road, if an interchange was built there in the future.
Ackerson said input from Eudorans at public meetings regarding the document revealed that residents wanted to see commercial development clustered around major intersections. For that reason, Ackerson said, the city could look at K-10 interchanges, especially to the west.
Ackerson said the plan also accounted for renovations to downtown Eudora, among other things.
"One thing that came out pretty clearly was the need for additional industrial park opportunities," he said.
Besides, Conner said, areas along the highway designated as mixed use could include retail development, and areas laid out for industrial parks could have commercial uses, too. However, Pyle suggested commercial development should also be considered for 10th Street, as it already had some commercial development and was an alternate pathway to Lawrence.
"Everything can't be on the highway," he said.
Fellow Council member Rex Burkhardt said Eudora should concentrate on keeping growth in Douglas County rather than growing toward and into Johnson County.
Almost any kind of commercial growth would be important to Eudora, Pyle said. For instance, he said people often looked down on chain stores, like fast food restaurants, coming in to small towns like Eudora. Because of sales tax, he said Eudora was lucky to have Sonic Drive-In and Dairy Queen near K-10.
"Just because they have a national connection, it doesn't mean money's going back to New York or Atlanta or somewhere," he said.
Moreover, Eudora customers can travel to other nearby areas to shop at chain stores, like the fast food restaurants along K-10 in De Soto.
"If we had it here, they'd shop here," he said.