Let’s talk for a second about the “Gateway to Gardner.”
To hear city staff tell it, you’d think there was a vaunted entryway into town complete with pageantry and artistry. There’s no such thing or place as the “Gardner Gateway.”
Anyone who has driven to the outskirts of town in any direction can tell you that’s simply not the case. However, a disturbing trend is arising – the recommendation to deny projects and businesses based on their proximity to the “Gateway of Gardner,” whatever or wherever that is.
The term was first used in discussions about the relocation of Five Star Trucking, a trucking company relocating to Gardner from Olathe. The business is constructing a building on the western edge of town on U.S. 56 Highway.
City staff suggested that planning commissioners deny a request from Five Star Trucking to construct its business at its location on west 56 Highway, because it would be an eye sore at the “Gateway to Gardner.”
The term has reared its head once again in discussions about rezoning property on the south end of town for a used car lot. The primary reason city staff recommended rejection of the used car lot rezoning request was due to its proximity near the “Gateway to Gardner.”
Apparently, this unicorn-like “Gateway” is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.
Here’s the thing: The vast majority of develop able land is on the edge of town. This is by definition. The city typically doesn’t annex undeveloped land into the city. This means that empty land ends up on the edge of town. The vast majority of development occurs on empty land – especially in a city that has room to grown.
Every business from here on into the future shouldn’t have to meet unattainable standards due to their likely location near the “Gateway.”
Let’s just drop that phrase from our planning lexicon, OK?