County commissioners approve development plan
Leavenworth County commissioners approved the county's comprehensive plan Thursday, making way for more small residential lots.
John Zoellner, Leavenworth County planning and zoning director, said the change would lower minimum residential lot size from 2.5 acres to 15,000 square feet near Stranger Creek east of Tonganoxie and near Wolf Creek east of Basehor.
The plan has met with objection, Zoellner said. About 45 area residents protested at Thursday's meeting.
"The people who were objecting mostly came from the southeast part of the county," Zoellner said. "The plan doesn't change that area at all."
Chris Baska, whose husband, Mark, has been a vocal opponent of the revised comprehensive plan, said opponents don't want to see city suburbs and large housing developments encroach upon rural areas.
"We just don't want to lose the small-town lifestyle," she said. "If we wanted to live in Johnson County, we'd move over to Johnson County."
The Baskas live near Reno, but also have an interest in land near U.S. Highway 24-40 and 166th Street, an area that could be affected by the changed plan.
Baska said petitions against the comprehensive plan were presented to commissioners.
"We were really upset because the county commissioners would not listen to the voice of their constituents that's the bottom line instead of representing us, they ruled us."
Zoellner said that opponents to the plan wanted the entire unincorporated area of the county to be a 2.5-acre minimum, Zoellner said.
He said that two and one-half 15,000-acre lots could be placed on an acre of ground.
Smaller lots would generate more in road improvement fees and impact fees, Zoellner said.
For instance, the county charges a $665 traffic impact fee, along with a road improvement fee of $2,000 per house.
"If you took an 80-acre piece of property and put one home per 10 acres, you're going to get eight houses and that's going to create road improvement fees of $16,000 total," Zoellner said.
If the same 80 acres were developed in 2.5 lots, the generated road improvement fees would total $64,000. And if the land were developed at 15,000-square-foot lots, assuming 2.5 homes per acre and seven homes on every 2.5 acres, that land would generate $448,000 in road improvement fees, Zoellner said. On top of that would be the road impact fees.
"So you're looking at a difference of more than a half a million dollars," Zoellner said. "It's meaningful, at least to me."