If you are not outraged -- you probably don't know what is going on.
In the late 1980s, Lawrence, Kansas and Douglas County called together their citizens to create a long-range plan for how the area should develop. This took several years and much collaboration. Community leaders, planners, geologists, business owners and concerned citizens all contributed their best thinking to figure out how and when and where infrastructure should be built so that services and quality of life could be maximized and infrastructure costs could be minimized. The product of these efforts was a document called Horizon 2020. It planned for major growth to go to the south -- where building and operating a wastewater treatment plant would be least costly.
Since that time this document has served as a trusted guide for the Planning Commission, for developers, home-owners and neighborhoods to be able to plan their futures.
Unfortunately, the current Planning Commission, is about to revise these plans with little citizen oversight and too quickly for it to be done in a way that protects community standards.
At the July City Commission hearing to island annex 155 acres, law professor Mike Hoeflich pointed out that proper procedures to annex the land had been circumvented and that this annexation violated Kansas Laws -- but this fact was ignored by the commission.
A huge outcry from some attentive citizens in July persuaded city planners to wait until October, 2008 so that alternative plans could be considered. Citizens worry that because of the influence of one particular developer, critical parts of this document are being targeted for revision with very little input or collaboraton from the community. This means that the community-created Horizon 2020, a plan constructed with a depth of knowledge and experience will have been replaced by a shallow version that serves the special interests of developers. We will all pay the price of this decision if this project and the associated Horizon 2020 revisions go through.
Neighbors have filed two lawsuits against the city and if they win either of these, the annexation will be considered null.