Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Shawnee planners give OK for bioscience firm building

December 7, 2006

The Shawnee Planning Commission Monday approved plans for a building for Shawnee's sixth large bioscience-related firm.

Approval of the Hans Rudolph headquarters, planned at 8325 Cole Pkwy., was tabled at the commission's meeting two weeks ago because of concerns about a new composite to be used on the building's exterior. But the commission approved the building as a trial of the material, and the business will add to Shawnee's bioscience stock.

After the meeting, Jim Martin, Shawnee's executive director of economic development, said the city is home to about five other large firms related to bioscience, in addition to two smaller bioscience firms.

"So Shawnee has a pretty good concentration, and it's growing," he said.

The city's economic incentives were part of what successfully attracted the Hans Rudolph firm, currently based in south Kansas City, Mo., which designs and manufactures respiratory products. Hans Rudolph was looking to move out of its antiquated facility, and Martin said the company was interested in the possible 10-year, 65 percent property tax exemption it could receive in Shawnee.

"That really contributed to Hans Rudolph focusing on Shawnee," Martin said. "It was our incentives program that really kind of tipped the scale in Shawnee's favor."

The 30,510-square-foot building will take up one of the last available spaces in the Perimeter Park business park. The plans called for a product called Perma-Crete to be used on the exterior of the tilt-up concrete walls, and the commission was concerned the product didn't meet city restrictions for painted brick, stone or concrete blocks.

After discussing concerns that the Perma-Crete might chip or fade, the commission approved the use of the product on the building on a five-year trial basis.

In other business, the commission also set a public hearing Jan. 3 for the creation of a new zoning district for Planned Single Family -- Age Restricted Housing. The city would be the first in the metropolitan area to have such a zoning district.

The Shawnee City Council asked last year that the new zoning district be created to allow up-scale, small lot, single-family residential subdivisions for seniors. Current Shawnee regulations allow for duplex and multi-family subdivisions with age restrictions, but not single-family homes.

Planning Director Paul Chaffee said when creating the zoning requirements, the city contacted cities in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Indiana and Illinois that had age-restricted zoning districts to study their regulations and altered the Shawnee zoning requirements based on problems these other cities had faced.

The new zoning would allow restrictions for people 55 and older with a spouse of any age, or all residents above 62; or restricting at least 80 percent of the occupied units to be occupied by at least one person 55 or older.

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