A photo of an asphalt plant given to members of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board. Photo courtesy of Johnson County

A photo of an asphalt plant given to members of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board. Photo courtesy of Johnson County

Danedri Thompson
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Despite a request from Edgerton officials to table discussion of a proposed asphalt and concrete plant near Edgerton city limits, members of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board forwarded a recommendation to approve a conditional use permit for the plant to the county commission. It was the second time members of the zoning board considered the conditional use permit, and for a second time, the board agreed to recommend its approval during a July 23 meeting.
The decision was not without controversy. More than a dozen Edgerton residents and officials, including Mayor Don Roberts and city council woman Cindy Crooks voiced their opposition to the project.
City administrator Beth Linn told the zoning board that Edgerton officials had just received some information about the plant, including a traffic study related to the project, that day.
She asked that the zoning board continue the conditional use permit hearing until Edgerton officials had time to examine the traffic study and conduct a site visit to the rock quarry.
Under the proposal, Bettis Asphalt & Construction would lease portable plants to be located on 16 acres in the 160-acre Mid-State Ventures’ rock quarry at 20125 Sunflower Road. The location is just beyond the city limits of Edgerton.
Roberts went one-step further suggesting that the zoning board deny the permit unless Bettis Asphalt agreed to a stipulation to close the current street entrance to the rock quarry and create an entrance further south on the property.
However, the zoning board and county officials noted that the conditional-use permit was for Bettis, a company leasing from the property owner. Bettis would not have authorization or the ability to move the rock quarry entrance.
City council member Cindy Crooks said she was concerned about additional trucks on Sunflower Road. Edgerton and Johnson County governments split the cost of maintaining the road.
“My largest concern is traffic and wear and tear on our roads,” she said.
Crooks said the asphalt plant was kind of a third strike in Edgerton. She listed the train traffic and the rock quarry as the first two.
“We all know the theory – three strikes, you’re out,” Crooks said. “We’ve got trains. We’ve got the rock quarry. No asphalt plant. We don’t want it.”
Blake Brooks, Edgerton, said the three things will affect real estate values.
“Who is going to want to move here? No one,” Brooks said.
Intermodal officials voiced concerns about the plant as well.
Patrick Robinson is a vice president at NorthPoint Development, the developer of the logistics hub adjacent to the intermodal. He views the plant as the equivalent to putting a batch plant in front of Leawood City Hall on 87th Street.
He said the logistics hub development uses its own temporary concrete batch plants for construction.
“We already have the intermodal and 80 trains a day. I feel if this was by a Blue Valley School or a Shawnee Mission School we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”
Brooks’ wife, Liz Brooks, worried that the research that determined asphalt plant emissions are safe was conducted on healthy, adult males.
“That’s not my kids,” she said. “Can you prove to me that it’s safe for my 6-year-old and 3-year-old to play outside?”
A consultant told the zoning board that the dust is regulated. Joe Desery, Leawood, said the amount of pollutants from the asphalt plant will be less than the amount that are present when a person pumps gas into their car.
John DeGrande, member of the Southwest Johnson County Consolidated Zoning Board, said Edgerton welcomed the intermodal.
“In the end, maybe half or more than half will be less than happy,” DeGrande said.
“…It is a conditional-use permit. If there are problems, there’s a process for complaints.”
The board will recommend the approval of a five-year, conditional-use permit for the asphalt plant. Bettis Concrete initially requested a 10-year permit.
The debate now moves to the county commission. Members of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners will consider the conditional-use permit during the Aug. 28 board meeting. That meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. at the county administration building in Olathe.