Townhomes given chance for go-ahead
After volleying between Eudora's City Council and Planning Commission, plans for an upscale townhome neighborhood in a new Shadow Ridge development are likely to be approved next month, when the Council will consider an ordinance to change zoning on the land south of 28th Street.
For months the Council and Commission had passed the plans back and forth, with the planners' most recent action recommending the Council deny the plans.
Although plans to fill in a floodplain had raised flags on the project early on, city leaders learned that process put the responsibility of authorization on FEMA. Since then, planners criticized green space lost by filling in the floodplain, which in earlier incarnations had been left open.
At Tuesday night's rescheduled meeting, the Council was split 2-2 with Council member Tom Pyle abstaining, citing mixed feelings on the issue. As a result, Mayor Ron Conner cast the deciding vote and overturned the Commission's recommendation to deny the project's development plan.
Although the Council didn't vote in favor of the Commission's recommendation to deny, the Council didn't officially approve the development either. That won't happen until it votes in the affirmative on a zoning-change ordinance City Attorney Jerry Cooley is drafting for an upcoming meeting.
Council member Dan Gregg apologized for voting against planners' recommendations but said the development would mostly affect immediately adjacent neighborhoods, which were yet to be built.
"The people affected aren't there yet," Gregg said. "I know it's going to tick off some homeowners in this area. I still believe this plan is good, and I like it, and I'm going to support it."
Council member Scott Hopson said he'd heard from property owners as far away as those who lived across Church Street from the site who said they opposed having townhomes that close.
Gregg said he thought the reason people were against townhomes was because of developments like those behind the C&S Market, where streetside parking posed a problem.
"That put a bad taste in everybody's mouth," he said.
Developer John McGrew said the townhomes created more affordable housing options in Eudora for young families.
Because the more than a dozen townhomes would be governed by a neighborhood association and would include maintenance like yard care and snow removal, Phil Struble of Landplan Engineering has said the development could draw young professionals or retirees not wanting the hassle of such upkeep.
Currently, Struble said developers were continuing to work with FEMA on the floodplain fill permit.