Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2004

Informal talks lead to Arbor Ridge compromise

August 26, 2004

The adversaries in an eastside development dispute have reached a compromise that may allow a proposed subdivision to move forward.

Toni Caldwell said Tuesday that she and developer Jim Lambie found a mutually acceptable plan for the 90 acres the developer owns southeast of the 83rd Street/Kill Creek Road intersection.

Caldwell led the eastside neighborhood effort that helped defeat two previous rezoning attempts for Lambie-Geer L.L.C.'s proposed Arbor Ridge subdivision. The two started meeting after a Johnson County judge issued a June 3 stay in the developer's appeal of the De Soto City Council's denial of its latest rezoning requests.

Lambie called her after he learned the Council indicated it wasn't interested in hearing from the developer outside of the regular city rezoning process, Caldwell said. She was encouraged to proceed with the talks by De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson, she said.

Caldwell said the discussions were between Lambie and her. After each meeting, she would report progress and receive direction from eastside neighbors.

It was agreed Lambie-Geer would drop its request for townhomes in Arbor Ridge. It would also surround the site to the east, south and west with 18 large-lot homes. They agreed the middle of the subdivision would be zoned to the city's smaller suburban lot sizes allowed in R-1A zoning and not the R-1.

"Basically, it's a compromise," Caldwell said. "We didn't get all we wanted, and neither did he. We'd like all R-1 in there.

"It fills a need we have in De Soto. The single-family homes will be in a price range the city needs."

The subdivision's inner homes would be from $150,000 to $250,000, Caldwell said.

With the Johnson County housing report indicating more than 500 rental units available in De Soto, the city didn't need the townhomes Lambie-Geer first proposed, Caldwell said.

The plan would reduce the population of the subdivision by about 145 people and the number of total residences by an estimated 55, Caldwell said.

"I think that's significant," she said. "That's quite a difference, I think."

Caldwell said although she still had concerns about the amount of green space in the development, she and the neighbors would not fight a new proposal if its specifics reflected those agreed to in the talks. Lambie indicated he wanted to start the city planning process very soon, she said.

De Soto City Engineer Mike Brungardt said he had talked with Lambie-Geer's engineers about infrastructure concerns but hadn't yet seen a new plan. It was too late to get any new plan on the De Soto Planning Commission's August agenda, he said.

The comprehensive plan update the city adopted early this year required any new plan in that area of the city to seek planned-development zoning, Brungardt said. Planned development tied a development's rezoning to a site plan. IT gave the Planning Commission and Council more leverage as the city deal with the delivery of infrastructure to the area, he said.

Foremost of the infrastructure concerns are sewers and the city's ability to allow growth before a new sewer plant or other waste-water treatment capacity is added near the end of 2006. The answers to those questions were in how well the city's proposed upgrades to the current sewer plant performed and a greater understanding of the source of increased and more potent waste into the plant, Brungardt said. Arbor Ridge could be forced to develop on a phased schedule should those factors indicate limited capacity, he said.

She and other neighbors were aware of the need of new rooftops to pay for sewer and water utility upgrades, Caldwell said. She supported Lambie-Geer in part because she would like to see the agreed-upon subdivision get to the front of the line should a building moratorium be necessary, she said.

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