Proposal for commercial development framework at Shawnee Twin Lakes deferred

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Fishing is available at both of the Shawnee Twin Lakes, though permits are necessary for anyone younger than 65.

After finding the item too complex to quickly sort out Monday, Shawnee City Commissioners voted to defer consideration of an ordinance that would amend some of the regulations around Shawnee Twin Lakes — and also propose to establish and potentially develop a commercial lake zone.

“Most of (the regulation changes) are just to be consistent with (changes in) state statute,” Shawnee City Manager Chance Allison said. “The second half is the creation of a commercial lake zone.”

The reason for the consideration, he said, is that the city does not currently have a framework in place to address the leasing of commercial space at the lakes.

“This does not affect the cabin area,” he said. That part was specifically excluded from the ordinance, he said.

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The ordinance would allow the city to survey the public use areas and publish those on the city website, and then allow the submission of proposals from constituents and commercial developers, Allison said.

“Every proposal would have to have the appropriate specs, plans and financing that would be used to make the proposal a reality,” he said. “And then it would go to the Planning Commission.”

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A recommendation from the staff and planning committee would then go before city commissioners.

“The (ordinance) is for the framework — not a commercial development of any sort at this point,” he said. “In order to allow for commercial development, we have to have a mechanism in place for this body to vent those opportunities in equal fashion for anyone who's interested.”

Ward 2 Shawnee City Commissioner Bob Weaver requested deferment on the commercial aspect of the ordinance to give time for a meeting with residents for input before anything was done.

Mayor Ed Bolt responded, saying, “Correct me if I'm wrong, but all we're doing is saying there's a possibility for doing those types of activities to come in. But before that happens they still have to go before the Planning Commission and hear a lot of public input on that and then it would have to come before this body (City Commission) and have the opportunity to have discussion there.”

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City Attorney Joe Vorndran said the first thing that would have to occur if the ordinance passed is for the City Planning Department to actually identify proposed property; it would then have to be rezoned.

The city would have to go through the same rezoning procedure as everyone else does, requiring notices to property owners and have a public hearing, he said.

“There are a lot of steps and opportunities to have all those discussions,” Bolt said.

Weaver followed up by saying, “I feel these people have a right to have an opportunity of understanding what we're doing … and I want to give them an opportunity to get their concerns addressed.”

The board ended up voting unanimously to defer the item to a future meeting.

Watch for updates.

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For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.