Mixed enrollment reported at colleges in Kansas

Mixed enrollment results were reported Friday by public Kansas colleges and universities, according to a news release from the Kansas Board of Regents.

Seeing increases in enrollment were Fort Hays State University, 3 percent; the University of Kansas, .1 percent; and Wichita State University, 4 percent. Washburn University, Topeka, reported an increase of 1.4 percent.

Decreases were reported by Kansas State University, 4.1 percent; Emporia State University. 2.6 percent; and Pittsburg State University, 2.7 percent. In a news release, a K-State official cited fewer students from Kansas attending any college, and fewer international students studying in the United States.

The University of Kansas Medical Center reported an increase of 1.3 percent compared to last fall.

In all, the six state universities reported an overall decrease of 239 students, or .25 percent, compared to the previous fall.

The preliminary fall enrollment figures for the universities were the University of Kansas, 28,447, including the University of Kansas Medical Center, 3,556; Kansas State University, 22,795; Fort Hays State University, 15,100; Wichita State University, 15,081; Pittsburg State University, 6,907; and Emporia State University, 5,732.

Among the 19 community colleges, Kansas City Kansas Community College reported an increase of 1.7 percent, or 102 more students; and Johnson County Community College reported a decrease of 2.7 percent, or 516 fewer students. Allen County Community College reported a 9 percent increase with 230 more students, while Independence (Kan.) Community College reported a decline of 15.1 percent in enrollment, or 159 fewer students. Barton County Community College reported a 7.8 percent decline, or 460 fewer students, while Butler Community College reported a 4.6 percent decline, or 431 fewer students.

Kansas City Kansas Community College reported an enrollment of 5,833, while Johnson County Community College reported an enrollment of 18,638.

In all, community college enrollment at the 19 institutions was down 1,502 students, or 2 percent.

Used car lot receives permit on Merriam Lane

A used car lot at 1010 Merriam Lane received a two-year special use permit at the Unified Government Commission meeting Thursday night.

On a 6-2 vote, with Commissioners Ann Brandau Murguia and Harold Johnson voting no, the permit was approved.

The proposed car lot would have space for only six cars for sale, according to the application.

The Rosedale Development Association opposed the permit at the Thursday night meeting. Erin Stryka, executive director of the Rosedale Development Association, said a used car lot was not appropriate for this community corridor or the site.

The UG invested more than $7 million to improve the corridor’s infrastructure since 2013 to change and improve the character of the corridor, and to attract high-quality development, she said.

She said used car lots do not fit with the priorities of the Southwest Boulevard-Merriam Lane master plan.

Bryant Parker, an attorney representing the applicant, Abdul Mazid, said that denial of the permit would be devastating for his client. He said his client invested substantial amounts of money, believing that if he did certain things to improve the property, it would be approved. Photos were shown of the parking lot surface improvements and the improvements to the exterior of the building. The property may be sold in the next few years, according to the attorney. Parker said the applicant would do everything the Planning Commission stipulated at an earlier meeting.

Mayor Mark Holland said he looked at the map of the site and saw that there was a used-car lot adjacent to this location, with 39 cars visible from the street. He said the character of the neighborhood would not change until the larger used car lot is purchased or changes.

He said he was not a fan of used car dealerships (especially ones that don’t have traders insurance) , but he didn’t know that six more used cars there would hurt anything. He said he agreed with the staff it was not the highest and best use, but what harm would there be with six more cars until the larger car dealership next door is purchased or changes. The used car dealership next door was “grandfathered” before the newer UG rules took effect on used car dealerships, and does not need to apply for a permit, according to UG officials.

According to the UG planning staff at the meeting, the landscaping would have to be done now, while the brick restoration would have to be completed within one year, and the sidewalk would be done in two years when the permit is renewed.

Within the past year, the UG has put in stricter guidelines to slow the number of used car lots in Kansas City, Kansas.

According to UG planning documents, the property from 1987 to 2001 was an antique car sales business, an auto repair business in 2004 and 2005, and a retail market from 2005 to 2008.

Past action on the permit

The special use permit previously passed the City Planning Commission while the UG planning staff recommended denial.

The City Planning Commission previously voted 7-2 to approve the permit for two years with some stipulations. The stipulations included delaying the installation of a sidewalk by two years, and delaying restoration of the brick on the outside of the building for one year. Also, the applicant wanted the landscaping plan delayed, and disagreed with the planning staff’s recommendation of 19 parking spaces required for parking. The City Planning Commission stated the applicant could go to the Board of Zoning Appeals to work out parking.

The UG planning staff, in UG documents, recommended denial of the permit and did not agree with the City Planning Commission’s recommendation. The planning staff stated in documents that landscaping was under the authority of the Board of Zoning Appeals, and could not be deferred by the City Planning Commission. The planning staff also stated in documents that there was not enough parking, the site plan did not include a sidewalk, and that the used car dealership was not necessary for the convenience and welfare of the public since there were other used car dealerships in the vicinity.