Archive for Thursday, November 2, 2006

Sunflower board chosen

November 2, 2006

The Johnson County Commission appointed a seven--member Sunflower Redevelopment Board last Thursday two-and-a-half years after the Kansas Legislature gave it the authority to name the body.

With environmental remediation work started at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, it was time to name the board, Johnson County Commission Chair Annabeth Surbaugh said.

"Once land is cleaned up, it can bedeveloped," she said. "They need to start getting educated on what's ahead of them."

The board will function as planning commission, Surbaugh said, making recommendations to the county commission on zoning and development proposals.

Immediately after the Legislature gave the county the authority to name the board in the spring of 2003, De Soto's representative on the county commission, John Toplikar, advocated the redevelopment board should be named. Surbaugh argued it was too early because it wasn't known what function it would be asked to fill.

Had the county not found a developer to assume the cleanup and develop the 9,065-acre plant, the redevelopment board would have had the responsibility of marketing the property. The possibility ended with the transfer of the plant in August 2005 to Sunflower Redevelopment LLC, a partnership of the Kansas City, Mo., based Kessinger/Hunter and Co. and International Risk Group Inc. of Denver.

De Soto is well represented on the redevelopment board and as ex-efficio, or non-voting members. De Soto members of the board include De Soto Planning Commission Chairman Kevin Honomichl and De Soto USD 232 planning and operations director Jack Deyoe. In addition, Evelyn Johnson of Lexington Township was named to the board.

De Soto residents Ruth Schukman-Dakotas and Mary Frey were named as ex-officio members.

The other four voting members of the board are William Hess, a Fairway attorney with 20 years experience in public finance; Dave Webb, a realtor, appraiser and former state representative from Stilwell; Robert Schwarz, planning and research manager for the Blue Valley school district; and 12-year Johnson County Planning Commission member Carol Whitlock of Merriam.

The other six non-voting members are Westwood Hills architect E. Allen Roth, Olathe attorney and president of the Sunflower citizen watchdog group Taxpayers Offering Tomorrow's Opportunities President Micheline Burger; Leawood architect and land planner James Taylor Sr.; Environmental Protection Agency senior policy analyst Richard Sumpter of Lenexa, and Mission teacher of special needs children.

The Douglas County Commission will appoint the eighth non-voting member.

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