Names of SFAAP RDA allay fears of rubber stamp
Two weeks ago, the Johnson County Commission appointed the Sunflower Redevelopment Board it has had the authority to name for two-and-a-half years. Before that action, the time, we were told, was never right; first because it was not known what function it would fulfill, and then because commissioners didn't want to appoint a board with nothing to do.
That changed, Johnson County Commission Chair Annabeth Surbaugh said, with the start of cleanup at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. When ground is cleaned, it can be developed, and, therefore, it was time to appoint the board so its members could get educated on issues they will face as Sunflower Redevelopment Inc. brings forward actual projects.
Realistically, the board will still have a few years of downtime. The developers have not yet named who will be responsible for their master plan, and the process of creating that development blueprint is expected to take about a year.
There were fears expressed the redevelopment board, which is to function as a zoning board for Sunflower development, would be a rubber stamp of the developer or exclude De Soto interest. A look at the names of those named to the board allay both those concerns.
The list of voting members includes two De Soto members and one resident of Lexington Township. Kevin Honomichl, the chairman of the De Soto Planning Commission, is among its members, providing the new board with knowledge of De Soto's plans for the areas abutting Sunflower, and Jack Deyoe will represent the school district's interest, particularly that the development have a tax base that support the new schools that will have to be built on the plant. The Lexington Township member, Evelyn Johnson, has been a regular at Johnson County Commission meetings at which Sunflower was on the agenda for nearly a decade.
Among non-voting members, the name Micheline Burger stands out. The president of Taxpapers Offering Tomorrow's Opportunities can be counted on to represent the people who were so instrumental in stopping a former Sunflower redevelopment plan when the group was known as Taxpapers Opposed To Oz.
The names on the redevelopment board add confidence the county will give a critical eye to future development at the Sunflower plant.