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Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2012

County sends agritourism plan back for revisions

September 19, 2012

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A plan to promote agricultural tourism in Douglas County hit another roadblock Wednesday.

The County Commission voted to return the proposed zoning regulation change back to the committee that drafted it, after it was sent back in April and significantly changed.

Chairman Mike Gaughan said he thought the plan — aimed to allow landowners to bypass site plan proposals for activities like farmers markets, small-scale ancillary retail sales, winery tours, event rental or farm stays — was “close to being final.” But commissioner Jim Flory brought up concerns about “opening doors we cannot close” in regards to language that, he said, removed oversight for large events.

The committee, including Mary Miller, the city-county planner who presented the amendment, will review the exemptions for events and whether they should go back to being special-permit issues, as they are now. The agritourism zoning code will then return the commission at a later date.

In other County Commission news from Wednesday:

• A home rule resolution on commercial car towing proposed Sept. 5 officially passed. It outlines maximum charges and overall practices for towing companies and will go into effect Nov. 1.

• The 2012 International Building Code was adopted for the unincorporated portions of the county, starting Jan. 1. The proposal was put forward Aug. 29, but the commission chose to get more information before deciding. On Wednesday, they expressed unanimous support.

• Paul Bahnmaier, Lecompton Historical Society president, gave an update on the Lecompton post office, which is slated to close and the commission recently gave a proclamation of support for keeping it open. National representatives will meet at noon Nov. 2 at the community center in Lecompton to discuss the proposed cutbacks.

• Two change-of-use permits for storage facilities were granted, at 32 N. 1000 Road and 1753 N. 700 Road.

• The public works department will go forward in refurbishing a modular home at Lone Star Lake. Department head Keith Browning said the hope was to return it to a rental property, possibly with the county renting it to a retired public works employee. The department will also put out bids for an overhaul of the concessions building at the lake, which has been unoccupied since 2002. The tentative plan there would be to close a nearby bathroom facility and add public bathrooms to that building.

• The commission granted about $60,000 to the sheriff to purchase a new compression chiller for the jail as well as about $120,000 to purchase a new phone system for the county government offices.

• Scott Ruf, director of emergency communications, will have change order authority of $15,000 on the upcoming $6.5 million radio upgrade project.

The commission will meet again at 4 p.m. Sept. 26 on the second floor of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

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