TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka City Council is moving forward with a number of projects, some of which include a new Rural Housing Incentive District and the Topeka Zoo License and Management Agreement.

There is a need to build 420 units over the next five years to meet housing demands along with an additional 2300 to catch up from previous demands. With the council’s approval Tuesday night, the Rural Housing Incentive District will now go to the state for further evaluation.

“I think it’s important for us to give some serious thought and consideration,” Topeka Mayor Michael Padilla said. “It’s new for us but I think that doesn’t mean we should back away from it before we give it some serious consideration.”

That wasn’t the only change to come out of council. Moving forward, the city of Topeka will no longer fund its namesake zoo. Zoo leaders say that’s not a bad thing.

“Back when we entered into the agreement with the city where friends of the zoo now operates the zoo, the city agreed to continue funding it unless we came up with a different funding mechanism,” Friends of the Topeka Zoo President, Fred Patton said. “And that’s why we worked hard through the legislature and went to the voters last fall to implement this two cent of tenth sales tax. And so now we do away with all city funding.”

This means city tax dollars will not longer fund the zoo with the funding shifting to the new county tax. Zoo leaders say getting out from under the city’s umbrella will help them flourish.

Another item that came up Tuesday night, was a safety concern with the homeless in Oakland.
One individual, in particular, has been accused of causing a nuisance. Neighbors accuse him of trespassing through their yards, peeping into their windows, and other disturbing behaviors.
A special meeting will be held in two weeks to discuss the issue, and other safety concerns in Oakland.