De Soto — An open pit rock quarry located between Eudora and DeSoto would detrimentally affect surrounding residential and agricultural areas, the Lexington Township Zoning Board decided Tuesday night.
In a meeting in DeSoto High School's auditorium, board members voted unanimously to recommend denial of a request for a conditional use permit for an open pit rock quarry.
Burns and McDonnell, a Kansas City, Mo., firm, made the request on behalf of Evening Star Quarries, a subsidiary of Ash Grove Cement Co. The proposed site is on 459 acres just south of Kansas Highway 10, at the southwest corner of 103rd and Evening Star Road, an area currently zoned mainly for agricultural use.
The board approved a list of 19 facts pertinent to the request, and board member Sharrol Webb read the board's conclusions.
"In the event the requested conditional use permit was approved, it is our conclusion that the quarry site itself, nearby property and the county as a whole may be detrimentally affected," she said.
INCOMPATIBLE land uses, increased traffic and environmental concerns were listed as compelling reasons for recommending denial of the request.
Other concerns included the applicant's failure to provide a redevelopment plan for the reclaimed land when quarrying is completed, the lack of information provided on rock fracturing over an extended period of time, and concern that the quarry would hinder future growth and development along the K-10 Corridor.
"In weighing and balancing the relative gain to the public health, safety and welfare by the approval of the application as compared to the hardship imposed upon the nearby landowners, the balance weighs in favor of the landowners," Webb read.
The announcement was met with applause and cheers from the crowd.
THE ZONING board will present its recommendation to the Johnson County Commission on Dec. 11, said William Klassen, zoning board chairman.
"If they adopt our recommendation, it's done," he said. "If they don't adopt it, they'll send it back to us for reconsideration, but they have the final say."
Gary Church, of Ash Grove Materials Corp., said tremendous growth in Johnson County warranted the immediate need for a limestone quarry. "We're disappointed with the decision, but we'll continue to pursue it," he said.
Bill Simon, a chairman of the Evening Star Community Assn., which pushed for denial of the permit request, said the zoning board acted in the best interest of the community.
"We do not need a rock quarry," he said. "We may be a rural area, but we have a very strong neighborhood interested in keeping their property values up. There's a lot of interest in maintaining that neighborhood as an agricultural area for the time being until the right industry comes along."