Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2011

Town Talk: Sand pit operation proposed for site near Perry-Lecompton; Hy-Vee plans for new convenience store on Clinton Parkway up for approval; permit for rural firing range in the crosshairs

September 22, 2011


News and notes from around town:

• Sand is big business around these parts. This part of the state isn’t rich with oil or natural gas, but when it comes to things below the ground, we are pretty rich in the category of sand. But local leaders have had a hard time figuring out how to let companies mine that sand. If you remember, county leaders have rejected two sand pit mining operations in the last year or so. One was on property near the Midland Junction north of Lawrence, and the other was on property just north of Eudora. Well, it looks like at least one company has gotten the message. Midwest Concrete Materials, which operates a concrete plant on East 23rd Street, has filed paperwork to open a sand pit operation near the Kansas River — in Jefferson County. The company has filed for a conditional-use permit on 296 acres that is just east of the Kansas River bridge, across the river from Lecompton. The request is for a sand pit operation, rather than a sand dredging operation that extends out into the Kansas River, said Duane Buscher, a planner with the Jefferson County Planning Department. Sand dredging operations are very difficult to get approved these days because of concerns about the impact dredging has on the river. And sand pit operations have been problematic to get approved in Douglas County. The one near the airport — which was sought by Midwest Concrete Materials — drew opposition from neighbors who were concerned about the loss of prime farmland and about truck traffic. It will be interesting to see whether folks in Jefferson County have any of those same concerns or whether they will be excited about having a new business in the area. It also will be interesting to see what impact the sand operation has on Douglas County. The bulk of the trucks leaving the facility are expected to be going to Midwest’s concrete plant, which is east of Lawrence, across the highway from the East Hills Business Park. No word yet on how many trucks that will be or what route they will take, although I assume they would go through Lecompton and get on the South Lawrence Trafficway. (I wonder if they’ve heard it is not done yet.) The truck traffic may create heartburn for some, but I chatted briefly with Douglas County Public Works Director Keith Browning, who was keeping the news in perspective. He said he was looking into the plant proposal in more detail, but said sometimes such plants don’t produce as much traffic as people assume. We’ll see what the reaction is. I have a call into Midwest Concrete Materials, but haven't heard back from them yet. The proposal currently is in the staff review phase in Jefferson County. Now word yet on when it will be presented to county commissioners up north. Until then, all I know about sand is that it is big business in my household too. During the summer you can find my wife lounging on it, usually with a $12 margarita. If you don’t think that is big business, you haven’t seen my wife drink margaritas.

As we have previously reported, Hy-Vee has plans to build a new gasoline station/convenience store/car wash near the southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Crossgate Drive. That project is set to go through a major step on Monday. Lawrence-Douglas County Planning commissioners will consider the necessary rezoning and special permits needed to allow the project. City commissioners then would consider it for final approval in the next couple of weeks. The plans call for a 2,800-square-foot convenience store, eight gasoline pump islands, a four-bay car wash and a separate lot for a future office building. Planning staff members are recommending approval of the development, but have brought up one traffic concern. The project is proposing that a new driveway be created off Crossgate that would allow motorists to turn directly into the gasoline station. Staff members note that the new driveway would be very close to the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Crossgate, which could create congestion concerns. (The new driveway would be about 200 feet away.) The site also is served by West 24th Place, which runs along the south edge of the development. Staff members would prefer all traffic to the development use that smaller road. People who like to sell lots of gas, though, have another preference. Planning commissioners will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Lawrence City Hall.

• Also up for approval at Monday’s meeting is a conditional-use permit to allow the existing Fraternal Order of Police firing range to continue in operation at 768 E. 661 Diagonal Road in rural Douglas County. This has been a project that has been drawing comments and concerns for months. Some neighbors of the site have objected to the range, which has been in existence for decades. Planners determined the site needed a conditional-use permit to exist, and now discussion is centering on issues related to noise, hours of operation, and whether the lead from spent bullets has the potential to contaminate ground water in the area. Staff members are recommending approval of the site, but with several conditions. They include: No shooting after 8 p.m. on most nights, although three nighttime shooting events a year can be allowed; lead will be reclaimed from the soil every seven years or 100,000 rounds; lodge officials will propose ways to mitigate how much sound from the firing range spills over to adjacent properties. Ultimately, Douglas County Commissioners will have the final say on whether the firing range receives the necessary permit. The hearing at the county commission level likely will happen in a few weeks, if the project wins planning commissioners' approval on Monday.


Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 6 years, 5 months ago

Check with Shawnee County Sheriff. They wanted to build a training building at their range at an old county dump. The range had been used for decades. Neighbors, who had not been there when the range was built, complained about the noise. It was discovered that the range had never had a permit, so it was closed down. While Shawnee Sheriff was building a new state of the art range, with permit, we had to borrow other ranges to qualify. It was worth the wait. Shawnee County Sheriff has a new state of the art range and training complex built on the east side of the county, the old one was on the west side. This new range is quite impressive. Perhaps our commissioners and the FOP should visit it. Thank you, Lynn

Hooligan_016 6 years, 5 months ago

No, it is not. At one point in this discussion with the Fraternal Order of Police, they did not want to place any signage indicating a firing range was in the area because they were afraid residents would assume it would be open for public shooting.

ljwhirled 6 years, 5 months ago

Sort of. You can use it to train for your conceal and carry (I did), but not without a law enforcement sponsor.

I would however, like to see a public rifle range open in Douglas County.

Right now folks without friends in the rural community shoot in unsafe locations. I'd rather we put a safe site into operation.

That 0.30" round that hit that little girl east of here keeps me up at night some times. I have a 3 year old and 0.30" caliber ammo is lethal at a very long range.

somebodynew 6 years, 5 months ago

Lynn -

That is a real fine idea. Are you going to pay for it ???? Those kind of things don't come cheap and I am quite sure the FOP is not capable of (or willing to) spending that much money for use by the City and County. Just how much did that range in Shawnee Co. cost ?? I read one time but I don't remember.

Keith 6 years, 5 months ago

Which brings us to this question, if the police need a firing range, shouldn't the department provide it and not rely on the fraternal organization? If the department has a range, what purpose does the fraternal one serve?

ljwhirled 6 years, 5 months ago

I want my local cops to shoot straight and hit their intended target every time.

I am willing to pay for it.

No unintended shootings. If they shoot, I want them to hit and kill their intended target and nothing else.

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 5 months ago

The LPD, DGCO Sheriff, KUPD, and other LE agencies use the FOP range, as it doesn't make much sense for everyone to have pay for & maintain seperate ranges. All the above mentioned agencies use other ranges as well depending on what their training needs are; they may use the ranges at nearby military bases, KS National Guard ranges, KS Highway Patrol ranges, or even private ranges.

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

i think they should build a new one out by the jail, big waste of fuel going out to the old one at lone star.

thepianoman 6 years, 5 months ago


Can you find out what's up with P-King??? Still no signs of them re-opening. I checked the Louisanna Purchase and there's absolutley no evidence of them opening there. I'm starting to wonder if they've called it quits! :(

I'm seriously craving a plate of Crab Rangoons and sweet and sour chicken.....

Shane Rogers 6 years, 5 months ago

+1 the above comment.

I think my wife a is about to have Peking Taste withdrawal.

We tried their number last week, but of course nobody answered neither did they have any kind of recording.

thepianoman 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I tried calling them yesterday. Notta. UGH!!! What is the deal. Chad - get on' it dude! Please and Thanks! :)

hail2oldku 6 years, 5 months ago

While you're at it Chad, get going on that investigative story about price fixing in Lawrence on fuel prices.

There is no logical reason for gas to be 30 cents a gallon cheaper in Topeka than in Lawrence. I'm talking apples to apples here too since it was the Dillons in Topeka out by Seaman v the Dillons at 6th & Lawrence Ave.

Keith 6 years, 5 months ago

Just paid 3.29 a gallon in Topeka, unless it has dropped here it's still in the 3.40 to 3.50 range.

tifosi 6 years, 5 months ago

I can think of a number of logical reasons:

  1. Difference in volume of gas pumped
  2. Difference in underground storage tank size 3.Difference in the time of the last fuel delivery 4.Competitive environment

hail2oldku 6 years, 5 months ago

    • lower prices will lead to an increase in the volume of gas pumped.
    • same number of pumps in both locations so it could be reasonably assumed that the storage tanks are close to the same size.
    • time of fuel delivery would fall into volume sold
    • competitive environment is what I am asking Chad to investigate. If the competition in Lawrence amounts to agreeing on prices then there is no competitive environment.

@Keith - my taking note of prices happened on Thursday of last week and Sunday of this week $3.27 in Topeka on both days and $3.57 in Lawrence.

ljwhirled 6 years, 5 months ago

Lots of price fixing. Mostly by OPEC.

Sigh.....every time I fill up I imagine the madras where the money ends up.

I want my Li-Poly car! I want it now! (and I want it for a price similar to an equivalent gasoline powered car).

Wadde 6 years, 5 months ago

" a better hy-vee..a greater shopping experience"

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 5 months ago

Inserting another entrance right off Crossgate sounds like a horrible idea. There is a reason why new developments haven't been allowed to do that for DECADES. It disrupts traffic! Somehow I don't think that will get approved.

tifosi 6 years, 5 months ago

Crossgate has a frontage road entrance within 200 ft. of the intersection on the SE side. It also has a frontage road entrance on the NW side as well as an entrance to a large apartment complex on the NE side within 200 ft. of the intersection. You will find the same situation at the stoplights to the west and east of this intersection. There doesn't seem to be any issues there, I don't see why there would be any issues here.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

They should make it open to the public. It would keep the costs down and I like to shoot.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 5 months ago

not a bad idea at all. incorporate instructional & safety classes along with a facility that could service both the police & the public. A reasonable fee structure for the shooting public could help greatly with operating costs.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

I would love to see more accessible safety classes and a culture that encourages really knowledgeable gun safety.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm with you pace, Lawrence needs a place to shoot your rifle, shotguns, and pistols, let the people in our area shoot maybe two or three times a month, I vote for this place or somewhere else in our area---

ksengineer 6 years, 5 months ago

Cedar Hill gun club (south of Lawrence) might fulfill your ballistic desires.

Keith 6 years, 5 months ago

I think Cedar Hill is scattergun only.

Jean Robart 6 years, 5 months ago

Do we REALLY need another gas station in Lawrence?

cowboy 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes we do need one out there ! The crapmart on Wakarusa is the only place close. Their prices are high and food stale. I welcome the Hyvee mart.

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