Archive for Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BOCC not sold on RED development proposals

Construction of the turnpike interchange at County Road 1 and Interstate-70 continues  south of Tonganoxie. The photo, taken Tuesday, is looking from west to east.

Construction of the turnpike interchange at County Road 1 and Interstate-70 continues south of Tonganoxie. The photo, taken Tuesday, is looking from west to east.

May 13, 2009

Whether Leavenworth County is going to spend the money to hire outside help to develop County Road 1 is still up in the air.

On Monday the Board of County Commissioners tabled its vote on whether to enter into a contract with RED Development after being updated on the negotiations by Commissioner John Flower. The development contract between the county and the professional developer would create a master development plan for County Road 1.

“I think intuitively we all agree that the interchange on County Road 1 and the improvement to County Road 1 will bring with it some form of development,” Flower said. “However, we have made commitments and it is our desire and intent to make sure what is developed along County Road 1 is the highest quality and is consistent with our overall plan.”

RED’s initial $200,000 proposal was too high for the county, so the company brought back an alternate $100,000 proposal, which again was too much for county officials. After further negotiations, Flower brought back to the commission a $150,000 plan that was split into three $50,000 tasks.

Flower said this would give the county the option of choosing what it wanted without necessarily purchasing the whole package.

Under the new proposal, RED Development will split its scope of work into three different tasks. RED Development will be the master developer and use Economics Research Associates, Ochsner Hare and Hare and Integra Realty Resources to complete the work.

In the first task, RED Development would initially have a kick-off meeting with county representatives to discuss the project and then get a market analysis of the area from ERA. The proposal said ERA “has the expertise to create the most thorough market analysis required to best understand the market area, demographics and economics.”

In the next phase, OHH would prepare a master land plan to find the appropriate mixes of land use, major road networks,and major infrastructure required for the uses.

The proposal said it would use ERA’s market analysis as well as input from RED development and IRR.

It also will indicate any kind of infrastructure improvements needed along the corridor.

Finally, the third phase will be the economic development plan report. This report will include benchmarking the corridor with surrounding communities and include the review of neighboring sales taxes, property taxes and impact fees. It would also include a land use plan that would be developed from information gathered from ERA in the first task, marketing and communication opportunities for the area, and recommended future actions among other things. RED Development will also use its connections and relationships with retail, office, industrial and residential entities to test the land use plan.

Commissioners J.C. Tellefson and Clyde Graeber didn’t want to take a vote on the issue on Monday because they just received the proposal earlier that morning and needed more time to look it through.

Tellefson said he was willing to spend a little money if there was potential for greater returns, but he wasn’t sure about buying the program in chunks.

“To buy part of the program without buying all of the program is not sound fiscal policy,” Tellefson said. “I don’t know what we are going to get if we don’t spend the whole amount. It just doesn’t ring solid for me.”

The City of Tonganoxie also will help pay for this development study, but Flower said no amount has been determined.


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