Douglas County Commission to consider permit for sand pit operation

Douglas County commissioners will be asked on Wednesday to approve a conditional use permit for a new 434-acre sand pit mining operation near Eudora.

The commission will consider that permit during the second half of its weekly meeting starting at 6:35 p.m.

The application is from William Penny, owner of Penny’s Concrete, which has a dredging operation adjacent to the site on the Kansas River, and Van LLC, co-owners of the property. The site is near the intersection of North 1500 Road and Noria Road.

Staff members from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department are recommending approval of the permit, subject to a long list of conditions, including requirements that the lake that would be created by the mine will be made to look as natural as possible and that it will be used as a recreational lake when the mining and reclamation is completed in about 30 years.

The proposal has generated concern among nearby property owners, as well as the city of Eudora about possible flooding issues, the loss of valuable farmland, threats to water quality in nearby wells and the impact the operation could have on local traffic.

According to a traffic impact study that was conducted, on a high production day as many as 200 trucks a day could be expected to drive in and out of the facility, or 400 “truck trips” a day on the local roads.

The permit application is just one of several items on an unusually heavy agenda for the commission next week.

The first part of the meeting will begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday to consider items not expected to generate public comment, including:

• A proposed contract extension of a contract with Dale Nimz to conduct a survey of cultural and historic resources in Eudora and Kanwaka Townships.

• A proposed contract for architectural services for a new Public Works facility near the Douglas County Jail.

• Approval of a Douglas County Kansas Heritage Conservation Plan to be submitted to the Kansas State Historical Society designating Douglas County as a certified local government.

• An amendment to a county resolution regarding adoption of the 2012 International codes.

• A resolution to dissolve the existing Codes Board of Appeals and create a new board consistent with 2012 I-Code requirements.

• A Long Range Planning 2013 Work Program.

• And a temporary set-aside agreement for property being divided through a cluster development for property located south of 977 East 1000 Road.

The commission will then reconvene at 6:35 to consider items likely to involve public comment.

In addition to the proposed conditional use permit for the sand pit mining operation, the commission will consider:

• A temporary set aside agreement for property being platted as Sadies Lake Addition.

• A conditional use permit for Kanwaka Corner Self Storage on approximately three acres located at the southeast corner of U.S. 40 Highway and 442 North 1600 Road.

• A text amendment to county zoning regulations to establish “agritourism” as a use in agricultural districts of unincorporated Douglas County.

• And a text amendment to zoning regulations to establish a special event permit and develop an application process and standards.