Danedri Thompson
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Although their proposed boundary lines overlap by approximately a mile, Gardner and Edgerton City Council members appeared to be light years away from a compromise after a joint work session in Gardner Monday night.

They’ll face off again during a second work session Thursday night in Edgerton.

Proposed annexation lines graphic courtesy of city of Edgerton

Gardner has proposed using Waverly Road as a western boundary on the southern side of town, but Edgerton council members are adamantly opposed to the idea. Instead, Edgerton proposed limiting Gardner’s western boundary to its current city limits.

Waverly Road is the eastern boundary for the intermodal property, which council member Steve Hale called the premier development property in the state.

“I look at this proposal as a cherry pie,” Hale said. “You’ve got all the fruit. I’d like us to have some of the crust.”

Edgerton members said they would like to use potential development along the east side of Waverly to fund improvements to that road. Gardner council members said the city needed land to Waverly to have some control over how the intermodal affects their residents in the immediate area.

“We have residents who live along that stretch of Waverly,” Hale said.

Edgerton council member Ken Gillespie said when the intermodal was to be built in Gardner, Gardner’s council proposed a western boundary that went as far west as Spoon Creek Road.

“Now that we’re putting the money out, we should have the ancillary development,” Gillespie said. “When you guys had it, you had the whole pie.”

Heidi Wiseman, Edgerton council, said the intermodal process that started in Gardner and ended with Edgerton annexing the property added to what appeared to be decades-long animosity between the two communities.

“I’m a transplant in Edgerton. I can look at it a little differently,” she said. “…Gardner’s residents or council didn’t give us the intermodal. You turned it down.”

Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta said the decision to let the intermodal go was “a very stupid decision.”

“I would say the residents were somewhat aghast at the decisions,” Drovetta said.

He also noted that he was a transplant to Gardner in 1987, and said almost all of the current Gardner council members are people that don’t have any idea of that long-term history.

“What you see in the Gardner council is not old school,” he said.

Edgerton council members said they’d be willing to make Waverly Road an annexation boundary if Gardner would be willing to pay for half of the improvements to the road.

Drovetta said the city of Gardner would give the excise fees generated from growth on the east side of Waverly to the city of Edgerton. Excise fees are paid by developers to build infrastructure including roads. The city of Edgerton will likely need to make improvements to Waverly Road long before development occurs on its eastern side.

“We’re putting the road in. We would like to have both sides to pay for our road. Plain and simple,” Gillespie said.

Under the existing intermodal contracts between Edgerton and the intermodal and logistics developers, Drovetta noted that Gardner residents as well as all Johnson County and state residents will be helping pay for road improvements on the intermodal property. The county will fund one road – the state another.

Gillespie said the Edgerton zoning requirements and regulations would buffer nearby Gardner property owners from the development if Edgerton maintained both sides of Waverly. He noted the codes Edgerton has adopted for the Edgerton property were created with Gardner residents in mind.

However, Hale took issue with that. Specifically, he said Edgerton’s desire to build a warehouse near U.S. 56 Highway and Waverly Road suggests otherwise. Edgerton is competing with several other metro-area cities for a warehouse for Demdaco near the Gardner-Edgerton annexation border. Hale said trucks to and from that property would travel through Gardner to access the property and the interstate.

“I’m not sure how much you had Gardner in mind when you talked about warehouses in 56,” Hale said. “…It doesn’t set a good precedence.”

Glyn Powers, Edgerton council member, said both cities would likely need to give and take to reach a compromise.

“I said I’d be willing to give on the north and not the east of Waverly,” Powers said. He said he wouldn’t be opposed to Four Corners Road as an annexation boundary.

On the northern edge, Gardner proposed a western boundary that goes as far west as halfway between Edgerton and Sunflower Roads. Edgerton’s council proposed an annexation boundary as far east as halfway between Four Corners Road and Waverly on the northern side.

David Dillner told both councils that once BNSF issues its notice to proceed, which should occur before the end of this calendar year – he expects development interest in the project to increase significantly.

“The northern portion will probably develop first, because there’s access there,” Dillner said.

Within three years, a proposed Interstate 35 interchange at Homestead Road should be completed.

Both councils will meet at a joint work session at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Edgerton City Hall.