When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners conducted three public hearings related to a proposed commercial development on Metropolitan Avenue.

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners conducted three public hearings related to a proposed commercial development on Metropolitan Avenue.

Commissioners took no formal vote related to the proposed development. But they reached a consensus to advance three ordinances for action on Nov. 12.

Developers are proposing to construct commercial buildings at Seventh Street and Metropolitan Avenue on a site that currently includes the Commander’s Inn building, 1118 N. Sixth St., and Armed Forces Bank, 615 Metropolitan Ave. Existing structures on the property would be torn down.

“We’ve closed on the site,” said Kevin Lee, an attorney for the developers.

He was joined by two representatives of the developers.

Lee said the developers were not in a position to announce during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting the names of businesses that may occupy the new buildings. But he said potential businesses could include a convenience store, restaurant and day care center.

City Manager Paul Kramer said developers are looking at constructing four buildings on the site. He said the estimated cost of the project is a little more than $7 million.

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners conducted a public hearing regarding a redevelopment, or tax increment financing, project plan.

The site of the proposed development is located within what already has been designated as a tax increment financing district.

When a project utilizes tax increment financing, increases in property tax revenues can be used to reimburse a developer. Money generated through the TIF program can be used for things such as land acquisition, site preparation and infrastructure, according to the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

Kramer said there have been two earlier hotel projects within the TIF district that have utilized the tax increment financing.

During the public hearing, audience member Scott Cunningham argued the city government should require a guarantee that the appearance of the development will adhere to the city’s comprehensive land use plan.

Kramer said the project will be held to the city’s current development regulations.

Another audience member who spoke during the public hearing was John Karrasch, who serves on the Leavenworth Planning Commission.

Members of the Planning Commission voted Sept. 9 to find that the proposed project is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Karrasch said Tuesday that he voted for the motion as a member of the Planning Commission because he believed the plan for the development still would be negotiated.

Karrasch said he is not opposed to the development, but he is opposed to the proposed layout of businesses.

He argued that an ATM and convenience store on the corner of the development does not represent what people want for a gateway development for the community.

Lee said the general layout of the development is still subject to the planning and zoning process. But he said the developers probably are not looking at a drastic reconfiguration.

City commissioners also conducted a public hearing concerning a request for the creation of a community improvement district in the area of the proposed development.

A CID would use an additional sales tax to help pay for certain eligible expenses related to the development, according to Kramer.

The developers have requested an additional sales tax of 1.25% for the CID. If approved, the sales tax could be in place in the community improvement district for up to 22 years.

Commissioners also conducted a public hearing regarding a request for the city to vacate the remnant of an alleyway that was platted in the late 1800s. The designated alleyway is located within the proposed development site.

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