Planners greenlight Meadows
As with most other developments, Eudora's newest neighborhood didn't garner recommendation for approval from city planners without reservations from the city and neighbors. However, it wasn't the townhomes planned for The Meadows at 15th that sparked debate but rather features of the neighborhood that some feared would impede safety.
Earlier this month, the Eudora Planning Commission recommended approval on a preliminary development plan for the neighborhood, east of the Greenway Apartments, with the caveat developers would heed the city's recommendations, among them increasing the setbacks to 10 feet and shortening the townhomes' cul-de-sac at least the city's standard 550 feet.
Both posed problems for emergency responders, said Fire Chief Spencer McCabe. He said the problem with seven-foot setbacks was that homes often had air conditioners, tool sheds or other items stored between houses.
"So what looks like a house that's 15 feet apart has all these obstacles you have to go around," he said.
Similarly, the cul-de-sac distance could pose a problem for emergency vehicles getting to and from a scene. Neighbor Robin Ross said she had driven a nearby cul-de-sac and had trouble getting her car through and couldn't imagine a fire truck doing so.
Commission member Rose House agreed.
"I've driven down it, and I think, 'How do people who live here drive here?'" she said.
McCabe said cul-de-sacs often caused grief for firefighters, regardless of the length.
Ross said she also didn't want to see homes so close together. Her neighborhood had 10-foot setbacks and wished it was more, she said. Tom Pyle, who spoke not as a Eudora City Council member but as a Eudora resident, said he didn't have a problem with a more traditional neighborhood design, like the one he grew up with in Kansas City, Kan.
"I think the construction of houses is better compared with what it was 75 years ago (when those houses were built), and we didn't have a rash of fires," he said.
Developers argued the shorter set-backs created more greenspace for the neighborhood and that the lengthened cul-de-sac made for easier access to a linear park.