Archive for Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Housing boom tips to Leavenworth

January 2, 2002

Tonganoxie, which in 2000 led the county in the number of new housing permits, dropped to third place in 2001.

Leavenworth led the way, with permits for 86 housing units issued in 2001, followed by Basehor with 81 units, Tonganoxie with 76 units and Lansing with 60 units. The combined cities ended up with 63 more housing permits in 2001 than in 2000.

These commercial building permits were issued in 2001: Christian Church addition. Assembly of God Church, rebuild from tornado. Mutual Savings addition. B&J Country Mart addition. Manufactured home park. VFW post home. Fairgrounds administration building, tornado rebuild. Fairgrounds concession stand. Garden center/greenhouse. Industrial building in Urban Hess Business Center.

During the same period, the number of residential building permits for rural areas of the county declined by 16 percent.

John Zoellner, the county's director of planning and zoning, attributed the slowdown of home construction in rural areas to the sluggish economy and job layoffs, as well as to increased land annexation by cities.

"Some of the job losses that have occurred have been upper income losses," Zoellner said. "Those are the people who would have the money to be able to buy larger lots in the county. That's what I would expect to see when you have a recession."

Zoellner said he anticipates significant growth in Basehor, thanks to improved infrastructure.

"Basehor has a new sewer treatment plant that now can handle more people than it could earlier," Zoellner said. "Of course that will accelerate growth."

Gary Carlson, executive director of Leavenworth Area Development, said the county is feeling the ripple effects from the growth in Johnson County and Wyandotte County.

"Because of the speedway there's a renewed interest in western Wyandotte County and that's spilling over into Leavenworth County," Carlson said.

Also, he said, newly platted developments, such as Basehor's 500-lot Falcon Lakes subdivision, will draw newcomers into the county.

"We've had a significant number of homeowners from Johnson County and Wyandotte County interested in Falcon Lakes," Carlson said.

The growth will continue, he added.

"The leading economic indicator for real estate is land development," Carlson said. "A year ago, Falcon Lakes was a piece of dirt next year it will have streets and sewers."

Carlson said he expects Tonganoxie to continue to grow, but not because of new developments in Wyandotte County.

"There are different growth opportunities," Carlson said. "Instead of growth coming from Johnson and Wyandotte counties, I think there's a perception that the growth of Lawrence is really impacting Tonganoxie more than anything else. So we're getting this ripple effect out of Lawrence and once they get to Tonganoxie, they can see this four-lane highway that gives them direct access to Kansas City."

Carlson said he believes that Tonganoxie is ideally situated for commercial growth. He referred to the Urban Hess business park and nearby business sites being developed by Steve Kelly.

"You show me anywhere else in the county where you have 20 to 25 business industrial lots," Carlson said. "You ain't going to find it."

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