December 22, 2014

Consultants host workshops for comp plan

A group of Gardner residents works on a map to show where they think different kinds of development should occur around Gardner. Approximately 50 residents showed up to a meeting with consultants to  help draft a new comprehensive plan for the community. The attendees were divided into seven groups, each with its own map. Citizens can continue to offer input through a website. A link is available on the city’s website at www.gardnerkansas.gov. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

A group of Gardner residents works on a map to show where they think different kinds of development should occur around Gardner. Approximately 50 residents showed up to a meeting with consultants to help draft a new comprehensive plan for the community. The attendees were divided into seven groups, each with its own map. Citizens can continue to offer input through a website. A link is available on the city’s website at www.gardnerkansas.gov. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Consultants gathered input on Gardner’s new comprehensive plan last week, hosting workshops with faith leaders, elected officials, the steering committee and residents.
When complete, the comprehensive plan will be used for economic development purposes. Ideally, it will establish a roadmap for the city’s future. Gardner’s current comprehensive plan, which includes zoning and proposed future zoning designations, was adopted in 2003 and partially updated in 2008.
Last week’s workshops were not the first time consultants drafting the plan visited with local residents. They facilitated several workshops in October designed to brain storm top priorities for the community.
Dan Gardner, one of the consultants the city hired to create the new plan, said some of the top priorities from workshops appear to be improving the city’s infrastructure, promoting a business-friendly environment while maintaining the community’s small town identifications. He said citizens have expressed interest in having a new police station, revitalizing downtown and potentially finding a way to move the Johnson County Fairgrounds from the center of town to a better spot.
Gardner said many citizens have noted that the city boasts primarily starter homes. The city’s median home value of $172,829 is less than that of Spring Hill, Olathe and Lawrence.
“There’s limited opportunities for residents to move up,” Gardner told members of the comprehensive plan steering committee.
He peppered the group with several facts about Gardner. For instance, the community is the number one manufacturer of refrigerator magnets in the world.
Gardner said he anticipates Gardner’s growth will outpace that of Johnson County. By 2018, he estimates the city will gain 2,300 more residents, or grow by 12.4 percent. The county will likely grow by 7.9 percent.
Members of the consulting team outlined the make-up of the current community. For example, 21 percent of the community is zoned residential, 5.6 percent is commercial, and 32.8 percent of the community including outlying areas is agricultural. Approximately 21 percent is empty.
Members of the community were invited to draft their own ideas about the community’s future during a public workshop. Approximately 50 patrons gathered in city hall on Jan. 29.
Consultant Gardner numbered the participants and established seven groups. He gave them large maps of the community and markers.
“Mark them up,” he said. “Here’s where a park should be. We want you to think bigger term, longer term.”
People interested in giving input for the yearlong comprehensive plan project will still have other opportunities. Future workshops will be scheduled and the consultants have set up a website. A link is available on the front of the city website at www.gardnerkansas.gov.
Gardner said to date, more than 200 people have drafted their own maps via the website.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Yeah, those “farm appraisal” properties, 32.8% of the Gardner community property, mostly owned by LLC entities, are eating Gardner citizens’ lunches and so many of those “farm appraisal” properties are not zoned farm, they are zoned as General Business Dist., Single Family Residential Dist., R-5 Apt. House Dist., Vacant, Planned Garden Apt. Dist., Office Bldg. Dist., Two-Family Dist. Citizens are getting a few dollars a year in taxes because of those “farm appraisals” when they should be getting thousands of dollars in taxes and our schools lose the most dollars.

    The time spent on this “comprehensive plan” should be time spent in getting these properties taxed correctly – that would solve a hell of a lot of problems and eliminate the cronyism government that has been going strong for years and costing citizens an arm and a leg along with many, many adverse affects. But you don’t see your city, county leaders or legislators lifting a finger to stop the wrongdoing – at least I haven’t seen it.

    The school district and the city of Gardner put out there propaganda day in and day out but they don’t support the average citizen as they should since they continue time and time again to take care of the thieves and even give those jaybirds benefit districts, when some of them don’t even pay their taxes nor their benefit district assessments or get their “farm” appraisals where they pay $5 or less a year in taxes as an example, if that. Those benefit districts improve the property these thieves own by providing roads, sewer, water, electricity, etc. that they need at a very low financing cost and years to pay the debt and yet those thieves turn around and no more contribute to the community than the man in the moon and those politicians and bureaucrats know that but they continue to chase after their slimy rearends. As I have said before, I do not believe it is my responsibility as a citizen, nor do I want, to be in the development business with all of its risks and neither do I believe it is my responsibility to bankroll or finance the wants and needs of so many of these thieves, especially when I see how they connive and manipulate and are dishonest in paying the proper taxes. It really gripes me when I see those LLC entities living in Leawood, etc. and paying taxes on their $2 MILLION houses and then turn around and say their “farm” properties here in Gardner should be appraised at $170 with a tax bill of less than $5 per year – they are more than willing to pay thousands of dollars on the properties where they “operate” so their kids can have the big school tax dollars for Blue Valley schools but they sure don’t want to pay the correct amount of taxes for the poor families and the kids here in Gardner and then to see local bureaucrats and politicians enable and support this type of inequality really puts the cherry on top of the cake. I know those jaybirds won’t be selling their Gardner properties for their “farm appraised” amounts such as $170………..no way will they be going along with that but they sure do loooooove paying taxes on that low amount – they will be getting thousands and millions for those properties when they sell and you have to look no further than some of the properties the citizens had to buy for the new schools being built.

    You can have all the workshops and spend all the money you want or have but if you don’t have honesty, ethics, integrity or moral values, a community and its citizens will continue to suffer.

    These comments are based on my opinions and after looking at one “farm appraisal” property here in Gardner after another plus much other research, especially those tax rolls.

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