Douglas County Commission approves propane bulk plant site plan near Baldwin City

photo by: Meeting screenshot/Douglas County Commission

The Douglas County Commission views a site plan for a planned 30,000-gallon propane bulk plant that will be located on the southeast corner of North 300 Road and East 1260 Road during its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

A propane gas delivery business will soon build a 30,000-gallon tank in rural Douglas County near Baldwin City.

The County Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved Heartland Propane’s site plan to build the tank on land located on the southeast corner of North 300 Road and East 1260 Road. Heartland Propane plans for the tank to serve as a refill station for its trucks that make gas deliveries in the area.

The 3.5-acre property, which is zoned for general business purposes, is near the North 300 Road and U.S. Highway 59 intersection, about 3 miles west of Baldwin City. While the property is located within Baldwin City’s 3-mile planning area, the city did not have any concerns with the project, Planner Mary Miller told the commissioners.

The only discussion the commissioners had on the project was about the plant’s fire safety plan. Commissioner Shannon Reid, noting there would be no onsite staff, asked what the plan would look like. Miller said the plan is not yet established but the company is required to provide the plan before it can receive a certificate of occupancy at the site.

David Stewart, of Heartland Propane, said the company will provide a fire safety plan to the local fire department, which is Willow Springs Fire District, according to planning documents. The plan would provide the fire district with access to the plant for emergency response. He also noted the plant will have an automatic emergency shutdown built into the structure.

In other business, County Administrator Sarah Plinsky told the commissioners the county is ready to work with the City of Lawrence and the Kaw Nation to help return the sacred prayer rock in Lawrence’s Robinson Park back to the tribe.

The City of Lawrence on Tuesday approved the Kaw Nation’s request to return the 23-ton red quartzite boulder. The city will work with the tribe to formulate plans on returning the rock and also intends to issue a formal apology to the tribe for taking it in 1929.

While the park housing the rock is city-operated, the land is owned by the county. Plinsky said the county has not had much involvement in the discussions regarding the return of the rock, but the county “stands ready” to discuss the issue with the city and the tribe on how to move forward. Additionally, she said she expects the County Commission will consider some sort of formal action in the near future to sort out the issue.

Commission Chair Shannon Portillo said she was happy to see the city choose to return the rock and issue an apology to the Kaw Nation.

“It’s good to see our community is moving in the right direction,” Portillo said.

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