October 31, 2014

City approves trucking co. expansion

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
A local trucking company can expand on the western edge of Gardner. Council members approved a rezoning request for 5-Star Trucking that will allow the company to make improvements to its industrial property, despite its proximity to residential housing.
Debate centered around the company’s planned expansion onto what was formerly a vacant, residential lot adjacent to 5-Star’s property at 604 W. Main St.
Planning commissioners recommended the council approve rezoning the vacant lot from residential to industrial. That group debated at length about the type of fencing that would surround the truck parking and storage lot.
Council members, however, discussed whether they should allow the rezoning of a residential lot for industrial uses in that area.
Planner Amy Kynard told the council that a recent U.S. 56 Highway Corridor Study suggested the area may be better suited for uses other than industrial. However, she said, the rezoning coupled with the company’s plan to upgrade its existing facility will be an improvement upon what’s already there.
“From a planning standpoint, it’s not ideal,” she said.
But, she explained, industrial usage already exists in the area, including 5-Star Trucking Company’s existing location, a warehouse and a plastics company.
“This is not a straight-forward case,” she said.
City staff reviewed 5-Star Trucking Company’s request for the rezoning for several months. Kynard said the decision staff made to recommend approval to the planning commission and then to the city council was not an easy one.
“It’s a situation that you can look at in a variety of ways,” she said. “Staff did land on it’s better suited for (industrial) than (residential).”
The vacant residential lot in question is surrounded on three sides by industrial zoning. The zoning- change will create a flatter, straighter line of industrial property that will abut residential property on only one side.
Council member Larry Fotovich voted against the rezoning and asked whether industrial zoning provided the best tax value for the city.
“We have specific criteria we look at and the tax consequences should not be part of the equation,” city administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee told the council.
Kynard said council members could deny the rezoning if they believed 5-Star Trucking Company’s expansion would decrease the value of other property values in the area, however.
“They’re planning on improving what’s there already. I don’t think it will negatively impact property owners,” Kynard said.
In other business, council members:
• adopted a resolution authorizing the refinancing of a series of general obligation bonds, or existing city debt. According to city finance director Laura Gourley, the refinancing will result in 4.7 percent in interest cost savings over the life of the bond.
• approved an agreement between the city of Gardner and New Century AirCenter to sell bulk water. The city has sold water to the air center for dozens of years, but its most recent contract expired in December 2011. Under the terms of the new contract, the city will earn about 30 cents per 1,000 gallons of water sold. The air center also has a water purchasing agreement with the city of Olathe.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    5 Star Trucking is what you get when you endorse having an intermodal in your neighborhood and you will be seeing trucks and more trucks until the day you die, with much suffering in the process, if you live in the area.

    What kind of taxes will this company provide for the needs of the community? Will there be large buildings or will you just have a parking lot for trucks that create very little tax revenue – again open storage lots are not winners for citizens in my opinion. Will this business be stable throughout the years or will it be going up and down as the economy goes thru their gyrations from year to year?

    I know who brought this intermodal mess to the area and I have nothing but contempt for them. The slimy politicians, bureaucrats and the thieves disenfranchise citizens every day of the week and create real financial rape for them – that is my opinion. I believe a homeowner’s property is definitely reduced in value if you have a trucking company near you but as I have seen for some time, the homeowner and taxpayer is never really at the table.

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    This issue of selling water to New Century is another loser for the average citizen. I believe I pay $4.80 for a 1,000 gallons of water with Gardner while they are selling water to the thieves for $2.50. The water and energy guzzlers should NEVER pay less than the average citizen under any circumstances in my opinion – ALL should pay the same rate. Many, many citizens everyday practice energy and water conservation since it is so important and how does their city recognize their efforts – BY CHARGING THEM ALMOST TWICE what they charge the water guzzling business entities. If you cannot recognize cronyism government brought to you by slimy politicians and bureaucrats by all that goes on, then you never will recognize the financial rape. To put the cherry on the top of the cake, you have 38 companies in New Century, who will be enjoying this low cost for water, who don’t even pay any property taxes. Are there any citizens out there who wonder how it came about that 38 companies in New Century aren’t paying any taxes while others are? Dear ole Century Link (did Councilwoman Harrison excuse herself from the voting on this as I believe she should have since she is a Century Link employee or at least was the last I heard?) doesn’t pay a dime in property taxes and they should be paying close to $900,000 A YEAR with citizens losing over $600,000 a year in SCHOOL TAXES and this is is just one of those 38 companies. Look to your slimy politicians and bureaucrats who made that financial rape possible. Think your school board, city, county and state elected officials are working for you???? I don’t and haven’t thought that for years now. But we have upcoming city and school board elections and I feel the same ole poor representation will continue. At this time I can only see one candidate that I would even think would be worthy of my vote. I sent an e-mail to Brett Limer asking him questions several weeks ago and he hasn’t bothered to answer my inquiry. If somebody ignores a citizen inquiry, then they won’t get my vote. Many, many will be evasive in their answers to questions or not answer at all and I think that is because they never want to be held accountable and that is why they end up being slimy politicians and not actual representatives who work for the people but only for the special interests. Sad, sad, sad situation but only the people will ever bring about needed change, however, so many of them are so apathetic or are just like the fakey, counterfeit candidates that I see, and why my expectations and hopes are low.

    Just like those 38 companies not paying property taxes in New Century for years and years and years, you have a Council vote to give this sweet water deal for TWENTY FREAKING YEARS. Do you think you are getting your money’s worth in what you pay City Attorney Hubbard when he reviewed and probably rubber stamped that contract? I don’t.

    These comments are my opinions – may all citizens form some opinions based on facts, information, knowledge, history, etc. and do something with those opinions to help themselves and their fellow citizens. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to happen based on the low voter turnout year after year and much apathy, ignorance and cronyism that I see every day. Many will still be voting by what their Facebook friend, Chamber of Commerce, Republican Party, Koch Bros., etc., etc. tell them to do or what candidates they endorse. Citizens are screaming across the U.S. about the poor government entities they have but I hate to tell them that they have brought much of that lousy government on themselves by not doing their jobs and keeping these lowlife politicians and bureaucrats in jobs and not keeping track of what they are are doing and how they are voting on important issues. Citizens spend more time picking out which restaurant they are going to dine at than they do in vetting candidates for office or those already in office along with the accompanying bureaucrats who are supposed to be WORKING for the citizens and it is even sadder when here in this area 80 to 90% of the people won’t even vote but I am getting to the place of being one of those when I see no one worthy of my vote.

    Had a bad blizzard here today but nothing compared to the damage that phony, fakey, counterfeit, morally corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are bringing about.

    My opinions on 2-21-13.

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    I will take the liberty of bringing you a piece of history by showing you again the following article. I like how a weapons of mass destruction plant, a gigantic hog farm with noxious odors and an intermodal hub are looked upon with the same disdain. But be assured you have slimy politicians and bureaucrats selling these project as just being “great” for you and you have seen that with your own eyes and heard by your own ears.

    Railroad hub bad news for Olathe
    Kansas City Star, The (MO) – Wednesday, November 2, 2005
    Author: STEVE EDDY

    It’s not often a small town like Gardner would be in favor of something that would have a negative effect on Olathe, its northern neighbor.

    In the past, both cities have worked well together and complimented each other, but that could come to an abrupt halt if Gardner continues its positive responses to a trial balloon from the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad.

    BNSF has been looking for a place to build a new hub for intermodal train traffic. This is the type of hub that mostly handles large containers that are transferred to trucks so they can be transported to companies through the area.

    And the trial balloon BNSF flew last week proposed sites south and east of New Century AirCenter between 159th and 175 Streets – on Olathe’s southern doorstep.

    According to the railroad, the proposed site would generate about 3,000 truck trips a day, and the site would certainly add to the 60 to 80 trains currently traveling through Olathe and clogging our streets.

    Gardner officials say the hub has great potential. They claim it would increase their local tax base and spur development in and around their city – and probably at little cost to Gardner.

    Greg Kindle, president of the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp., said the hub would have an effect on Gardner similar to the way the Kansas Speedway affected Wyandotte County.

    Olathe – which is spending millions of tax dollars to elevate railroad crossings to ease congestion – would receive little added revenue from the proposed hub, and would get stuck with most of the hassles.

    As Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland correctly said, Olathe doesn’t need any more train nuisances. Even after spending millions for the elevated train crossings, Olathe will still have numerous crossings where train delays continue. Adding more trains only makes the problem worse.

    Plus, adding 3,000 daily truck trips to a facility on Olathe’s southern doorstep means more traffic going through Olathe to reach businesses throughout the area.

    Already, Interstate 35 is packed – even during the middle of the day. Another favorite route of trucks, Kansas 7 through western Olathe, is already filled with scores of trucks carrying everything from gravel to produce. Adding truck traffic to either route further increases the congestion.

    The truck traffic could particularly affect drivers in southern Olathe, especially those who would be using a new interchange planned for I-35 and Lone Elm Road.

    Trucks also cause more wear and tear on highways than cars. More trucks means increased highway maintenance – and more tax dollars to pay for it.

    The initial proposal from BNSF means Olathe gets stuck with most of the hassles and probably an increase in tax dollars spent to accommodate a rail hub with little benefit to Olathe.

    Copeland stated: “I think it’s too close to our city” and “There are better places further south.”

    Copeland was polite in his opinion. What he should have said was, “Are you nuts? Absolutely not!”

    Johnson County is growing faster than dandelions in the spring, and much of that future growth is going to be south of Olathe. Olathe has been encouraging that growth because it is a benefit to everyone – including Gardner. But unless you’re talking about a weapons of mass destruction plant or gigantic hog farm with noxious odors, I can’t think of any industry that could be worse for Olathe than a rail hub for intermodal traffic just outside the city limits.

    It’s time for Olathe officials to stop playing nice. It’s time for Olathe to stand up and declare war by loudly stating we are not going to pay the price for Gardner’s potential windfall – and we will fight like Gen. George Patton’s Fifth Army.

    Of course, we could also tell BNSF that we’ll put toll booths at the city limits and charge $20 per truck going to and from the proposed hub. That would generate enough to pay for a new parking garage in downtown Olathe. Of course, no one could get to it because of all the increased train and truck traffic.

    Steve Eddy is a former Olathe City Council member and is owner

    of a local security company.

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    When are we going to start putting up our toll booths and start charging a toll for any intermodal related truck coming and going thru Gardner??? Won’t be happening – you, the citizen, will just have to be paying increased costs due these trucks. Be sure and backslap your local politician and bureaucrat for making that possible for you or possibly yourself for allowing them to do so.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Kansas City Business Journal – Feb. 22, 2013

    Kansas has increased the percentage of state workers hired without civil service protections under Gov. Sam Brownback, and the state Senate is working toward a gradual elimination of so-called classified state employees, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

    The state’s executive branch has hired 1,846 classified and 630 unclassified employees since July 1, the report says. Classified employees are protected by the state’s civil service law from being hired, fired or promoted based on nonmerit factors, including their political party.

    The percentage of nonclassified employees in the exeucitve branch has increased from just less than 12 percent a decade ago to more than 18 percent in January.

    The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee told The Capital-Journal that a bill is in the works that he characterized as the start of a plan to eventually make all state employees unclassified.

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