© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KCUR FM is currently operating at lower power. KCUR HD1 and HD2 are off air while Kansas City PBS performs repair work. Signals will be restored this afternoon.
Economy

Lawrence Businessman Plants Fruit Trees, Seeking Ag Use Rezoning

PeachTreeLawrence.jpg
Danny Wood/KCUR 89-3
/

After his application for a commercial development was rejected by the city, former Lawrence mayor Bob Schumm, is trying a different approach: asking the Douglas County authorities to re-zone the plot of land on Vermont Street for agricultural use.

Schumm has planted an orchard on the vacant commercial property in the downtown area after his development proposal for condos and office space was rejected last month. The businessman says he still intends to build condos and offices on the land, but in the meantime, 26 apple, peach, cherry, plum and pear trees cover the space.

“I’m going to let the trees grow," he said. "If the City continues to deny me my applications for approval then I’ve got something to work on.”

The Douglas County Appraiser, Steven Miles, is considering Schumm’s rezoning request. He said it’s a little unusual but a decision would be based on the use of the property. "What we’re looking for typically is an agricultural pursuit that is intended to produce income for the owner," said Miles. "We may ask for production records, sale receipts for the product that’s raised off of it or expense receipts for producing that product.”

PeachTreeViewDowntownLawrenceVermontSt.jpg
Credit Danny Wood/KCUR 89-3
/
The view towards Vermont Street, downtown Lawrence, from Bob Schumm's orchard, planted on his vacant plot of commercial land.

Schumm says he anticipates selling the fruit at the local farmers' market. If approved, the rezoning would save the Lawrence businessman, and cost the city, many thousands of dollars in taxes. 

Danny Wood is a freelance reporter for KCUR 89.3.

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make non-profit journalism available for everyone.