Archive for Thursday, November 9, 2006

Meadowlark residents against duplex zoning

November 9, 2006

Representatives from Meadowlark Estates made it clear to the Eudora Planning Commission Nov. 1 that townhouses or duplexes aren't welcome near their homes.

The message remained constant for zoning discussion on two separate properties near the subdivision.

The first discussion came during a public hearing for zoning of the 7.5-acre Fairfield Addition north of Meadowlark. Developers wanted to zone for commercial, multi-family and single-family use. Initial plans called for one commercial unit, six multi-family units and 17 single-family units.

From the first Meadowlark representative on, the public response was constant.

Meadowlark resident Bret Stouder, like his neighbors, told the commission his fear was the duplexes would devalue the nearby land.

"We made a capital investment in a community," Stouder said.

He said he believed Eudora was poised on the edge of growth, he said.

Stouder said he relocated to Eudora mainly because developers in Olathe were beginning to build townhouses near his property.

Sean Martin, a former school resource officer in Lawrence, had different reasons for not supporting the multi-family houses. He told the commission the proximity of the multi-family structures could lead to possible discipline issues for students.

It became an issue at Free State High School when students would leave during lunch, Martin said. He said traffic issues also compound the problem.

"I cannot believe we are talking about this with the way (Douglas County Road) 1061 is right now," Martin said.

Resident Julie Stewart echoed Martin's concern about traffic.

"If you live out here, it's an absolute nightmare," Stewart said.

Dean Grob of Grob Engineering Services LLC applied for the zoning and tried to answer the public's concern.

Grob said he developed the concept for the property based on its current zoning and what he thought would be best for the city.

After hearing the public comment and verifying the current zoning of the properties ---- low density residential -- the commission began discussion on the zoning request.

Planning Commission Chairman Kurt von Achen voiced concerns over the commercial zoning.

"I think we need to improve 1061," von Achen said. "I don't think I'd object to that commercial if 1061 were improved, even though it's a little dinky piece of commercial."

In a 5-1 vote, the commission agreed to recommend the Eudora City Council deny rezoning the Fairfield Addition to commercial. Commissioner Glenn Bartlett dissented.

The commission voted unanimously to recommend single-family zoning for both the requested multi-family zoning and the requested single-family zoning to the Eudora City Council.

Because the requested zoning changed, Grob did not request approval of the subdivision's preliminary plats.

The second development up for public hearing was Meadowlark 3, which will be located south of Church Street near 1300 Road.

Developers requested both 57 acres of single-family residential zoning and 53 acres of multi-family zoning.

During public comment, the residents from Meadowlark again disapproved of the multi-family use.

"I feel like if you're looking at townhomes and duplexes, the tax base will not grow as much as it would with single homes in Eudora," Meadowlark resident Rick Lounsbury said.

Brian Kubota of Landplan Engineering explained to the commission and the gathered residents that he plans on modeling the townhouses like those near the Alvamar Golf Course.

"Each townhome would be sold separately," Kubota said.

He said a homeowner's association would be in charge of maintaining the property, he said.

von Achen suggested a lower amount for multi-family zoning ---- possibly 40 acres ---- might be more appropriate given the city's overall land use plan.

"Personally I think there's a good portion of this that should be duplexes," von Achen said. "Fifty-three acres seems like a lot."

The planning commission tabled zoning discussion on Meadowlark 3 until its December meeting.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.