September 21, 2014

Commission remands concrete plant decision back to planning board

Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
Edgerton City Administrator, Beth Linn, played a little hard ball at the July 3 Johnson County Board of Commissioners meeting, a stance not taken at the June meeting of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board.
The zoning board recommended county commissioners approve a five-year conditional use permit (CUP) to be issued to Bettis Asphalt and Construction, Inc. for a proposed asphalt and concrete plant and auxiliary operations to be located in the existing quarry on Sunflower Road, just outside the city of Edgerton.
Linn’s concerns the night of the zoning meeting centered on future maintenance of Sunflower Road as a result of additional truck traffic.
She said, “We haven’t had an opportunity for our city engineer to review that traffic impact study, but I respectfully want to disagree with Johnson County Public Works a little bit on what the impact for Sunflower Road could be, and in particular, with the maintenance of that road.”
Although moving the entrance was mentioned to the zoning board, it was not aggressively pursued.  Linn said, “We wish that there had been additional conversation about moving the entrance.”
Even though the city of Edgerton proposed the internal haul road be concrete or
asphalt, Linn told the zoning board, “I think it’s important to understand their
interest in having that be a gravel road, and they have indicated that they will keep the dust down on that, but we’ve seen what the dust does just on the asphalt road that is interior to there now.”
However, at the county commission meeting, Linn was very adamant that Edgerton was asking for the entrance to be moved and was not interested in a second entrance being added or trees being trimmed or removed to improve site distance at the existing entrance. She requested the CUP be sent back to the zoning board for further review.
Ed Eilert, chairman of the board, was the first to propose the CUP be returned to the zoning board to address site access and review dust issues that might be bettered controlled with a hard surface interior haul road as proposed by the city of Edgerton. John Toplikar, who represents Gardner and Edgerton, was not satisfied that the issue of noise abatement had been thoroughly researched.  Commissioner Jim Allen expressed concerns with the existing property entrance and found the request from the city of Edgerton to move the site entrance reasonable.
It was by unanimous decision that the county commissioners remanded the request for a CUP to the zoning board.
Linn said the city staff had reviewed the traffic study after the zoning board meeting and believed it was important to take a harder stand in regards to the proposed plant’s impact. Linn said the city had not requested or received the traffic study prior to the zoning board meeting and cited “lean staff” as a contributing factor to the oversight.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” Linn said.

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