Annexation plan causes concern for roads
CHEYENNE, Nov 19, 2012 (Wyoming Tribune-Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A proposed annexation north of the Walmart store has some city officials and a nearby property owner worried.
But it's not the use of the nearly 21 acres for an apartment complex with more than 300 units that has eyebrows raised.
It's the system of roads that will serve it.
The property is located about 150 feet west of the intersection of Converse Boulevard and Ogden Road.
The development has Ed Murray worried about the impact it would have on his property.
Changes from the city's transportation plan would prevent him from developing his land as mixed use. That use is suggested by PlanCheyenne, a long-range planning document approved by the city and Laramie County.
"(The plan) is something upon which we as a public have a right to rely on," Murray said during a recent meeting of the City Council.
It's not just his own property rights that he is worried about, he said.
"We must definitely provide for sound and responsible planning for the road networks that affect the surrounding property. Not only mine but the community," he said.
Property owner Frank Cole declined to comment on the issues.
There isn't a problem with the proposed use of the land, city officials say.
"(It) is consistent with future land use plans and begins a logical transition from a larger commercial center to more neighborhood scale residential and commercial development," says a summary included with a staff report prepared for the council.
But the proposed transportation network does not line up with the city's master plan.
Last week the City Council voted 9-1 to approve a resolution saying the land meets the six requirements for annexation.
Councilman Mark Rinne voted against it.
But members voiced concerns about the large difference between the proposed road network and the one included in the long-range plan.
Among the differences between the master plan and what was submitted are:
- Rue Terre would not connect to Storey Boulevard.
- The east-west collector road would not connect at Converse Avenue with a four-way intersection.
Murray said during the meeting that the differences in the plan and the transportation network included in the annexation request make the difference in whether his property is viable.
City officials will consider whether to accept the proposed transportation plan when a plat for the project is filed.
In the meantime, the City Council asked Murray and Cole to get together to try to find a workable solution. Murray said he has tried to contact Cole, but they haven't met yet.
Tom Mason, director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the road plan as proposed is "generally OK."
"But we just feel there are details that need to be worked out," he added.
The staff report took a harsher tone.
The city's traffic engineering department responded in part: "(T)he application does not reflect sound planning and urban design principles with respect to existing and potential future development in the vicinity."
Mason said the long-range traffic plan can be changed, but changing it with each new annexation isn't a good long-term plan.
"We should really resolve through the long-range planning document what works for the developers and the community," he said.
The inconsistencies in the city's roads plan and the proposal are part of a larger problem associated with the area being annexed one piece at a time, Councilman Patrick Collins said.
"(W)e keep doing these incremental additions ... and when you look at each of them by themselves there's no problems with them," he said. "I (just) want to make sure the transportation network is going to be adequate for what will happen in the future."
To ensure that, he said it would be nice to have a plan for what could be developed.
He said other developers have provided plans. Those have changed with market conditions, but they give assurance that the transportation network will be adequate 20 or 30 years in the future.
The proposed annexation is part of a 640-acre area generally surrounded by Powderhouse Road, Storey Boulevard, Dell Range Boulevard and Converse Avenue. It has been developed incrementally, and more than 300 acres are still to be improved.
Most is owned by Cole; Murray has about 24 acres.
MPO suggests that a master plan for the developable area be done and a traffic study provided that justifies changes to the city's transportation master plan.
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