Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Planning commission recommends approval for Deer Valley annexation

January 12, 2006

After three months in front of the Eudora Planning Commission, the Deer Valley subdivision has moved on.

The development by Wilson and Hoover LLC that would build 90 single-family homes, 40 two-unit townhomes and a commercial corridor on 84 acres north of Intech Business Park earned two vital recommendations from the commission Jan. 4, and now must go before the city council for final approval.

The planning commission first voted to recommend annexing the site. The planning commission also recommended zoning changes for the residential single-family lots and the residential town home lots with consideration of the commercial rezoning deferred until later in the application process.

Although the decision to annex the land gained unanimous favor among commissions ---- mainly because it was already part of the city's long-range land use plan ---- the decision to grant Wilson and Hoover's requested zoning didn't come easily.

Several members of the planning commission and Bucher, Willis and Ratliff consulting planner Randy Graves held the view the land would have been more valuable maintaining its industrial zoning.

"As a planner, I look at this from the point of view that if you're going to do something contrary to the land use plan, you've got to do it with a good reason. I haven't seen that reason," Graves said.

The annexed land's proximity to Kansas Highway 10 makes it some of the most valuable in Eudora for industry, Graves said.

Graves wasn't alone with the view the land should be used for industry.

With Eudora's growth, the area would be more valuable as time passes, and changing the zoning now might be short-sighted, Commissioner Patrick Jankowski said.

"I think I'm guarded about having a rezoning in that area because of the fact it's a good location for commercial and industrial," Jankowski said.

Although several people on the commission were reserved about the rezoning, others were for it.

During public comment, Eudora City Councilman Scott Hopson said the development commercial component, shown as pink on a map the developer provided, would be vital to Eudora.

"This pink area is what Eudora has needed for the last 10 years, maybe more," Hopson said. "This is going to give us the tax base we need to get the burden off the homeowners and the elderly."

Commissioner Richard Campbell also saw advantages in the rezoning.

"I like the commercial on the corner. I like the fact that they are going to use their money for sewer improvements to get this done," Campbell said. "I think that's a benefit for the city."

Other factors of the plan drew Commissioner Rose House's support.

"They're from here and they still have concern for the community, and I like what they do and I'm for it," House said.

During public comment, residents voiced concerns about the maintenance of Douglas County Road 442 and sewer problems. The commission brought the issue of the recommended zoning to a vote.

The decision for recommendation to the city council to change the zoning in the area from industrial to single family lots and town home lots passed 4-3.

The approval of the subdivision will take place at an upcoming meeting of the Eudora City Council.

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