When they met Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners talked about the possibility of having additional focus group meetings for a new comprehensive plan.

When they met Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners talked about the possibility of having additional focus group meetings for a new comprehensive plan.

The County Commission has hired a Kansas City, Missouri, company named Olsson to develop a comprehensive plan for the county. The plan will look at things such as future land use and zoning.

It is anticipated the plan will be completed next year.

Ken Boone, vice president of Ochsner Hare and Hare, a design studio for Olsson, met with commissioners Wednesday to update them on the process being used to create the plan.

"We're about a third of the way through the process," he said.

In June, a series of focus groups were held to obtain public input for the comprehensive plan. The meetings took place at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School near Easton and a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Tonganoxie.

Commissioner Chad Schimke asked if there could be additional meetings at other locations.

Jeff Joseph, director of the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department, said there would be an additional cost from Olsson, and this would need approval from the commissioners.

Boone said organizers of the focus group meetings tried to use central locations in the north and south ends of the county.

He said the team working on the plan are evaluating areas that are outside of city limits. He said they had wanted to encourage people who do not live in cities to attend the focus groups.

"That being said, certainly we can do more meetings," he said.

Boone said the focus groups are a piece of a larger effort to get members of the public to participate.

Olsson currently is conducting an online survey for the comprehensive plan. Boone said between 1,500 and 1,600 people have taken the survey so far. The survey will be available through Sept. 1.

An open house also is planned for Oct. 2 in Leavenworth.

Commissioner Mike Stieben encouraged Boone to consider Linwood as a location for additional focus groups.

Stieben said he believes people in Linwood feel they are not heard from.

"And I think it's important that they be heard," he said.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson estimated that the focus group meetings that took place in Tonganoxie were about five miles from Linwood.

Commissioners were told a couple of additional focus group meetings could cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

The County Commission already has agreed to pay Olsson $288,000 for the comprehensive plan.

"And that's not enough to cover a few more meetings?" Stieben said.

Boone said the team working of the comprehensive may have to cut other things from the process in order to absorb the cost of the additional meetings.

"We don't want to compromise the final work product," he said.

Schimke suggested having additional focus group meetings in Lansing and Basehor.

Commissioner Vicky Kaaz suggested making a location in central Leavenworth County a priority for additional focus group meetings. She suggested using the Lansing Community Center.

Boone said he can come up with firm cost figures for another meeting or meetings in Lansing. Boone said he also will look at how that might fight in with the current budget and what this would mean to the scope of the project.

A website has been set up for the comprehensive plan. The website can be found at www.lvcountyplan.com. A link to the survey can be found on the website.

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