Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eudora needs to respond to county changes

October 26, 2006

Last week, the Douglas County commissioners approved a related list of regulations governing development in the rural parts of the county.

The amendments allow property owners of at least 20 acres of land in rural areas to subdivide the land into two single-family home parcels. If certain conditions are met, property can be subdivided to serve three single-family homes.

The newly allowed lot splits will not be allowed within designated "urban growth areas," or that territory the county's cities expect to annex. But as a story on the new regulations in the Lawrence Journal-World observed last week, "Eudora, Baldwin and Lecompton do not have designated urban growth areas."

It is a situation the Eudora City Council should soon correct.

There are reasons cities don't want a pattern of 10-acre or smaller lot development established on their doorsteps. Those living in development of that pattern tend to put up the "not welcome" sign to traditional suburban development of four to six homes per acre. They rightly argue the more densely settled neighborhoods will change the character of their semi-rural neighborhoods.

The smaller lots the county agreed to allow last week make it harder for developers to buy out existing homes for future subdivisions. But at the same time, the 10-acre lots do not provide enough of a tax base to make annexation and the delivery of city services like law enforcement, fire protection and road maintenance. And because the homes will be served by septic tanks, such development will certainly be a roadblock to future sewer expansion.

Given the county's new set of regulations, the Eudora Planning Commission and City Council should make it a priority to explore adjacent property on which it can realistically expand and then protect its interest with a designated urban growth area.

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