Darren Shafer and Katy Hoffman, members of the Southwest Johnson County  Consolidated Zoning Board, talk to county planner Paul Greeley during a meeting on May 28. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman

Darren Shafer and Katy Hoffman, members of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board, talk to county planner Paul Greeley during a meeting on May 28. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman

Danedri Thompson
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Members of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board are recommending that the county board of commissioners approve a conditional-use permit for an asphalt and concrete plant near Edgerton.
The portable plants would be leased by Bettis Asphalt & Construction and located on 16 acres in the 160-acre Mid-States Ventures’ rock quarry at 20125 Sunflower Road.
Initially, Bettis Asphalt requested a 10-year, conditional-use permit. However, county planners recommended the company only be granted a five-year permit.
“We have some concern about long-term usage,” county planner Paul Greeley said. “Shorter term would be beneficial to assess.”
The quarry is just beyond the city limits of Edgerton, and Edgerton city officials expressed their concerns about the proposal to members of the county zoning board.
“The quarry has been in operations since I was a young man,” Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts told the zoning board. “For the most part, people support it.”
However, he said the city council and staff are concerned about ongoing maintenance needs of Sunflower Road, which both Edgerton and Johnson County kick-in funds to maintain.
The plant will likely draw more truck traffic down Sunflower Road, but an attorney for Bettis Asphalt & Construction, Jim Hubbard, said it will not be a “significant increase.”
He explained that at peak traffic, officials anticipate there will be roughly 55 additional trucks per hour on the road. The way the traffic is counted, however, that will likely be half as many trucks. Each truck is counted twice – once as it’s entering the plant and once as it’s leaving.
Kenny Pritchard, Edgerton, was vocal about his distaste for the proposed asphalt plant. He told the board that a Missouri town recently shut down an asphalt plant because of its proximity to a park. The Edgerton plant will be within a half mile of the elementary school, he said.
“Everyone knows what asphalt smells like, and we’re going to be living near that,” Pritchard said.
Greeley said the plant operators will need air quality permits from the county and state. “Asphalt, when mixed with rock, there can be an odor,” Greeley said. “That’s probably benzene.”
Benzene is a fairly common substance that can be found in gasoline.
“The state and county would only regulate something that might emit 10-tons of benzene per month,” Greeley said. “(Asphalt plants) aren’t anywhere near that.”
Pritchard was also upset that Edgerton citizens had limited notice of the June 28 zoning board meeting and the plant approval agenda item.
“It just seems like it was a well-kept secret in the county to take advantage of Edgerton,” Pritchard said.
Greeley explained that the county followed its standard notification process – publication of the meeting in the Olathe News and notifying neighbors who live within 1,000-feet of the project. The closest neighbor lives approximately 1,200-feet from the project.
Edgerton City Administrator Beth Linn said she wished more consideration had been made about the dust and grime that will shake loose from trucks leaving the plant. The plant will be accessed via an on-site haul road running between the plant and Sunflower Road.
Linn worried that the road would not be long enough to shake material from trucks before they reach Sunflower Road. She also suggested moving the entrance to the plant further east.
The Johnson County Board of Commissioners must still give final approval for the conditional-use permit. Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the topic during a July 3 county commission meeting. The commission meets at 9:30 a.m. on Thursdays in the county administration building in Olathe.