Archive for Thursday, June 20, 1991


June 20, 1991


The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday learned what most duffers have known for awhile mixing golf with sand makes for a long day.

The commission took almost four hours to approve a five-year conditional use permit for a shore-based plant for sand dredging from the Kansas River by Kaw Sand Co., but rejected the company's request for a nearby sand pit operation. In a separate request, the commission approved a conditional use permit for a golfing complex between Lawrence and Eudora off Kansas Highway 10.

Lengthy debate of the two sand issues consumed the bulk of the commission's time.

Dave Penny, who owns Kaw Sand, and neighbors offered differing opinions on the need for more sand, possible water pollution from the operation and whether the Kansas River would "migrate," or alter its course, during the life of the plant.

The commission's decisions to approve the plant but deny the pit paralleled those of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission last month. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier had approved the dredging proposal.

COMMISSION Chairman Louie McElhaney said he was not concerned about possible water pollution from the operation, but was troubled by the "cutting" of the river. He said he wanted to wait and see what effect dredging would have on the river before approving the pit.

"I think once the river is dredged in the center, it's going to improve this situation," he said of potential river migration. "I would be a lot more comfortable at that time in issuing a permit for the pit than I would this evening."

Commissioners approved a motion, on a 2-1 vote, to deny the pit. Commissioner Mark Buhler dissented. He earlier recommended to downsize the pit so it would not be close to one of the neighboring property owners. No motion was made on his suggestion.

AFTER THE meeting, Penny said his feelings were "mixed." He said his company would establish the dredging operation, scheduled to start in 1992, and take measures to prevent the river from migrating. Penny said it will cost $300,000 to move portable equipment to the site, about two miles east of Lawrence, and the equipment used to pump the sand from the river is worth $700,000.

Carl McElwee, Rt. 2, who lives northeast of the site, said he was relieved the pit was not approved, but added "we're not too pleased with this particular site. We would rather have seen it at another location farther to the north (downstream)."

Penny plans to put in a new access road for the dredging operations to minimize traffic noise near some of the neighboring homes. He said the pumping operations would take place during three months of the year, but loading would be year-round.

IN APPROVING the golf complex, the county commission also followed a planning commission recommendation.

The proposed 20-acre complex will feature a driving range, putting green and miniature golf course. It will be about three miles east of Lawrence at the southeast corner of the intersection of K-10 and Douglas County Road 1057. The proposal was made by Jeff Gazaway, a Lenexa golf pro, on behalf of property owners Carl and Miriam Spray.

Four conditions were attached to the use permit, including hours of operation not exceeding 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and lights being shielded and pointing downward.

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