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Archive for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

County sends rock quarry decision to planning commission

March 27, 2013

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Douglas County commissioners said Wednesday that a proposed change in the sequence of mining at the Big Springs Quarry near Lecompton needs to have a full review and public hearing at the city-county planning commission before it can be approved.

That decision came even though officials with Mid-States Materials, the company that now owns the quarry straddling both sides of the Douglas-Shawnee county line, said it was unnecessary because there was nothing in the original permit that required them to adhere to any particular schedule.

John Hutton, an attorney for Mid-States, said the permit issued in 1990 called for the property to be mined in phases. And it divided the Douglas County portion of the property into sections, numbered 1 through 6 in Roman numerals. But he said those numbers did not indicate that the mining would take place in any particular order.

“I’m not even sure it’s a matter for this body to consider,” Hutton said.

But neighboring property owners disagreed, saying that when they purchased their property, they clearly understood that the mining would take place in the order specified.

“A deal is a deal,” said Robert Best, who owns property directly south of where Mid-States wants to mine next.

Best wanted the county to force Mid-States to adhere to the original plan, which would mean it would take several more years before the quarry operation moved anywhere near them.

Commissioner Jim Flory agreed with Mid-States, saying, “There’s nothing in the (permit), nor to the best of my knowledge in the minutes or discussions (from 1990), that mandated a specific sequence of phasing.”

But Flory was outvoted 2-1 by Commissioners Mike Gaughan and Nancy Thellman, who said the request needed a more thorough review.

In other business, county commissioners:

  • Agreed to use a nationwide purchasing cooperative to contract with The Garland Company to install a new roof on the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center at a cost not to exceed $625,000.
  • Agreed to act as a sponsoring local government in an arrangement that will enable the Kansas Head Start Association to receive federal Medicaid funding in order to expand an educational program that teaches parents how to deal with sick children.
  • Approved a request for $12,500 by the Retiree Attraction and Retention Task Force to help fund a feasibility study for a type of housing development called an intergenerational campus village.

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