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Johnson County moves forward with airport compatibility plan revisions

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Johnson County has set in motion goals to complete a new land use compatibility study and revised plan for the area surrounding its two airports. 

The county will contract out with Overland Park-based firm Coffman Associates to complete the 15 month process. The contract, which was initially budgeted for in 2021’s budget, will cost roughly $128,000. There will also be a project fund of about $28,000 to go with it, pulled from the 2022 general budget fund. 

Director of planning for Johnson County Jay Leipzig said the new study process to create an updated land compatibility plan around the Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe and New Century AirCenter are required because both existing plans “are outdated and no longer reflect the current development trends near the airports.” The New Century vicinity planning study was last updated in 1996, and the executive airport plan was done in 2004. 

“Both of these documents are in need of some updating,” he said. 

The process will include the formation of a steering committee, which will include representatives from county and affected city governments, such as Olathe and the airport commission. Those seats should be filled between now and July, which is when the study is expected to get rolling. 

This particular item set in motion a small side debate about hiring consultants at all and whether existing county government planning staff contained the type of expertise to complete the study individually. However, the expenditure for the consultant contract moved forward unanimously. 

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