Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
“Building the future of tomorrow, one road at a time,”  was the message Bettis Asphalt and Construction used as a greeting to those who attended an Oct. 15 neighborhood pubic meeting in Edgerton. This meeting, facilitated by county officials, was held to give Edgerton residents an opportunity to present concerns to Bettis Asphalt regarding its conditional use permit (CUP) application to construct a temporary asphalt/concrete plant to be located just outside the Edgerton city limits.
Although residents took no issue with building roads to enhance the future, they were adamant they did not want the asphalt coming from a plant built in their backyard.
The meeting agenda, set forth by the county, was very regimented and formal, with proposed times for introductions, opening comments, responses, closing comments and summarization. After opening comments by the county, Bettis officials and the residents got down to addressing the issues.
Bettis officials told residents their fears that an asphalt plant could cause cancer and poison the environment are not based in fact. They explained that property values and the mil levy should remain consistent. They said their engineer over-calculated the amount of truck traffic expected, thus traffic counts would be much lower that originally stated.
Edgerton residents were asked to take a step back and consider objective facts.
Of the 50-plus people in attendance, there was only one person who spoke in favor of the asphalt plant welcoming Bettis officials and wishing them luck. Despite the efforts of Bettis to offer additional information, the over whelming majority of those seated and standing along the back of the room were not satisfied that their quality of life and safety would not be compromised by the addition of the plant.
Since the neighborhood meeting, The Gardner News has learned that Pam Stranathan, USD 231 interim superintendent, issued a letter that states, “The district does not support the approval of the Conditional Use Permit (SW-CU-3133) that would allow an asphalt and concrete plant to be located near Edgerton, Kansas.”
The conditional use permit application is scheduled to be discussed during an Oct. 23 meeting. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 23 at the county administration building in Olathe.