Lawrence City Commissioner David Penny, owner and operator of Kaw Sand Co., can dredge sand from the river near Schaake Bend along the Kansas River east of Lawrence under a Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission recommendation Wednesday night.
But Penny's further request to build a pit on land in the area for sand extraction raised too many questions for commissioners, and they deferred action until they get some answers.
The commission split the request from Penny and Larry C. Schaake & Schaake Farms Inc., property owners of record, for a conditional use permit for sand extraction about 1 miles east of Lawrence during a 6-hour meeting Wednesday night. Penny has a contract to purchase the land on the south bank of the Kansas river for the operation from Schaake Farms Inc.
Commissioners unanimously recommended approval of the river sand dredging operation to the city commission, citing the fact that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already has granted a permit for the river dredging operation at Schaake's Bend. They included seven restrictions with the approval, including a restriction that the permit be limited to five years.
BUT COMMISSIONERS also voted unanimously to defer the request for Penny to build a sand pit on land just south of the river to extract sand for sale. They asked Penny to provide answers to a number of questions raised by people who live in the area, especially about the possibility that a 20-acre sand pit Penny estimated would be up to 75 feet deep could lead to contamination of an underground water aquifer that supplies drinking water to homes in the area.
Penny said he would try to answer all the questions raised, and come back before the commission in 60 days. But he said if he could not answer the questions, he would not be back.
Carl McElwee, reading a letter signed by six people who live in the area, complained that granting the sand pit operation would lead to the loss of prime farmland, have an uncertain effect on river banks, increase traffic, dust, noise and visual pollution, and possibly lead to contamination of the underground water aquifer.
In commission deliberations, Commissioner Mary Prewitt said she could not see any way of protecting the underground aquifer with the pit dug directly into the aquifer.
"It's like running a big hose into the city water tank and leaving it open indefinitely," she said.
Commissioner Dan Rockhill had concerns about truck traffic from the sand operation to K-10, which Penny said would mean up to 85-90 trucks a day leaving the plant. Rockhill asked that the Kansas Department of Transportation be asked for input.
ALSO WEDNESDAY, the planning commission approved a recommendation to rezone about 22 acres of land known as Westgate Properties on the south side of U.S. 40 Highway east of Wakarusa Drive.
But the rezoning recommended by the commission was for less dense development than was requested by Tim Fritzel, who was representing Westgate Properties, property owners of record, before the commission.
Fritzel and attorney Dick Zinn had requested that 12.2 acres of the land closest to U.S. 40 be rezoned RO-1 (residential-office) and 10 acres further south be rezoned RM-2 (multiple-family residence).
But by a 7-1 vote, with Commissioner Phil Bradley voting no, the commission agreed with the recommendation of planning staff and chose to rezone the land RO-2 and RM-1, categories that call for similar but less dense development than requested.
Rockhill and Prewitt both said the proposal violated the Western Development Plan, which called for less dense development in the area, which is an entrance to the city. Prewitt also said a suggestion by Zinn that the commission may be excluding less affluent people from western Lawrence by not granting more dense development was insulting. She said one of the goals of the Western Develoment Plan was to keep from being exclusionary. But she said another goal was to provide less dense entrances into Lawrence.
IN OTHER public meetings, planners unanimously approved:
A request to withdraw about 5.9 acres included in the preliminary plat of Four Seasons No. 7, from the Four Seasons Planned Unit Development. Requested by Paul Werner for Bill Green, property owner of record.
A request to rezone from RS-1 (single-family residence) to RS-2 (single-family residence with smaller lot size) lots 1-6, Tiffany Addition No. 2 (preliminary plat). The property is east of Monterey Way, north of 14th Street Court. Submitted by Donald W. and Phyllis G. Tiffany, property owners of record.
A use permitted upon review request to operate Stepping Stones Day Care Center at 1101 Wakarusa Dr. Submitted by Landplan Engineer for Johnny B. Ezell and Robert L. Stephens, property owners of record, and Stepping Stones Day Care.
A request to rezone about 30 acres from A (agricultural) to RS-1 (single-family residence) to be used as city park land. The property is south of 27th Street extended and east of Harper, near India School. Requested by Fred DeVictor, city parks and recreation department director. Previously, commissioners had unanimously approved the annexation of the land into the city.
Approved an text amendment to add accessory car wash facilities to automobile service stations in the C-2 zoning district. Initiated by the City Commission Feb. 5.
Deferred at the owner's request a request to rezone from A (agricultural) to RS-1 (single-family residence) about 10.4 acres of Easy Living Mobile Home Park, which was requested for annexation but withdrawn by the applicant during the December and January planning commission meetings. The property, which was to be part of a planned development by Wal-Mart at 33rd and Iowa, is at the southwest corner of the mobile home park.
On the consent agenda, planners approved:
A preliminary plat of Four Seasons No. 7, a replat of lots 21-37, Block 10, Four Seasons No. 5. This 22-lot residential subdivision contains about 5.9 acres. It is north of 26th Street between Morningside Drive and Crossgate Drive. Submitted by Paul Werner for Bill Green, property owner of record.
The final plat of Tiffany Additions No. 2, a replat of Tiffany Addition. This residential subdivision contains 18 lots and 7.91 acres east of Monterey Way, north of 14th Street Court. Submitted by Mid-Kansas Engineering Consultants for Donald W. and Phyllis G. Tiffany, property owners of record.
The final plat of McDonald's Subdivision No. 2, a replat of Lot 1, Block A, McDonald's Subdivision. This three-lot commericial subdivision contains 2.21 acres and is on 24th Street south of McDonald's restaurant. Submitted by Bartlett & West Engineers Inc. for Ralph E. Lewis II, general partner in Plaza Properties Ltd., property owner of record.