At their meeting Tuesday, the Manhattan City Commission approved the first reading of an annexation ordinance to acquire a 78.73 acre piece of land west of the Manhattan Regional Airport for eventual commercial development.
The land currently borders the Random Woods residential neighborhood. Multiple residents voiced their concerns and frustration to the board concerning the ambiguous description of what will be built on the land.
Olsson Engineer Mark Bachamp said site preparation will take a significant amount of time. This extended prep time and other unknown factors make it harder to determine what will eventually be constructed.
Commissioners Linda Morse and Wynn Butler said they anticipate minimal impact on the neighborhood regardless of how the land is developed.
Commissioner Usha Reddi said she would feel best if they ensured residents could give their input once development and planning begin.
Another notable approval was the first reading for an ordinance that determines the process in which a vacant city commission seat can be filled. City Attorney Katie Jackson explained more about what this ordinance entails.
Changes to the process began after Reddi announced her eventual retirement from the board following her appointment to the Kansas Senate.
After agreeing to speak candidly, Commissioner Wynn Butler said he supports filling the seat via election, something that Reddi was glad to hear.
Additionally, the board approved an $850,000 land purchase from the Living Word Church.
The nearly 10 acres of land would house the Manhattan Fire Department’s new training facility; they do not anticipate the lease for the current training facility near Fire Station Headquarters will be renewed after its expiration in 2034.
All three items were approved unanimously.