Comprehensive plan crosses city boundaries
Last Thursday night, Ton-ganoxie area residents learned about the city's proposed comprehensive plan a plan designed to serve as a guide for the area's growth during the next 20 years.
Eric Strauss, Lawrence, a planning consultant who has been working with the city's comprehensive plan task force since last fall, said the plan has three purposes:
To be an atlas of current information.
To be a guide for good planning to allow the city to deal with unanticipated issues.
To be a defense mechanism, to automatically convene a sense of reasonableness to whatever the city wants to do.
Further, Strauss said, the plan, which uses data from the 1990 census, deals with the premise that Tonganoxie will continue to grow. Also, the plan looks at major roads.
"The plan has the assumption that sometime within the future, there will be a new interchange at County Road 1 and Interstate 70," Strauss said. "Given that, and that the city will grow toward that entrance, the plan tried to anticipate where the growth will possibly occur."
The comprehensive plan includes a map delineating future zoning changes within the city limits.
Lois Meadows questioned Strauss about her family's construction business located at 1014 Front St.
"I would like to know what your plans are," Meadows said. "Meadows Construction is zoned industrial now and you have it zoned for commercial in the future."
Strauss said existing businesses, such as Meadows Construction, would remain.
"It will be grandfathered in," Strauss said. "But it won't be allowed to expand and if it burns more than 50 percent, you can't rebuild."
In other words, Strauss said, "It can continue on as is, it just can't rebuild."
Strauss said that Front Street would be more attractive as a commercial strip.
Meadows questioned him: "So what it the next step we take?"
Strauss replied, "Since you've already indicated you don't like it, perhaps it would be a good idea to get a letter to (city planner) Linda Zacher."
As a part of the city's comprehensive plan, landowners outside the city limits could ask the city to annex their property, but the property would have to be rezoned according to the city's comprehensive plan.
Properties then would have city benefits, such as sewer and water.
Specific areas outside of the present city limits are noted on a map, showing what changes in zoning could be made.
For instance, property bordering County Road 1 would be commercial, and farther to the east, along County Road 25, including a strip along Interstate 70, the land would be industrial.
Velda Roberts gave her approval for the industrial zoning.
"The area is needing the industrial base that will provide jobs and keep people in Tonganoxie," Roberts said. "Kids have moved away because we don't have jobs."
Mark Baska, who lives outside of Tonganoxie, criticized the city for looking at zoning changes outside of the city limits.
"There's a plan for the county outside of Tonganoxie and it should be made by those people and their representatives, not by Tonganoxie," Baska said.
"If I wanted to live around commercial, industrial or multi-family housing, I'll moved to Johnson County, but I don't want to move to Johnson County I want to live in a rural agricultural community."
Zacher defended the comprehensive plan, first mentioning that one of the things that will come out of the comprehensive plan will be a joint county-city planning commission.
"If we don't create some type of message for focusing growth, it could happen in a lot more haphazard ways, and that's a lot more damage than focusing," Zacher said.
Mayor John Franiuk said there would be another public hearing before any plans would be adopted.
"Growth is going to happen," Franiuk said. "There's no way you can stop it that's why this plan is so important, so that when growth happens, it will still be good quality of life."