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Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner City Council worked through a heavy agenda at their Dec. 5 meeting. The council’s Nov. 21 meeting had been cancelled due to lack of quorum.
Among the items considered were amendments and additions to city regulations and codes, bond issuance, annexation, and a two million square foot facility with potential to bring 1,500 or more jobs to Gardner.
Two million square foot warehouse
Council considered a memorandum of understanding with Heartland Family Farms, LLC. Heartland wants to develop a 2 million square foot warehouse, manufacturing and distribution facility on a triangular shaped, 123 acre piece of land located on the east side of Four Corners Road and the south side of 183rd Street.
The memorandum of understanding outlines general parameters the city and developers will pursue prior to more detailed, definitive agreements.
The memorandum is just one step – the project will still need annexation, a development agreement, rezoning, conditional use permitting, platting and bond financing.
Larry Powell gave the staff presentation. He said the memorandum had been well vetted – by bond counsel, legal counsel, administration, city planning staff and public utilities staff.
The city will provide sewer and electric services. RWD #7 will provide water.
The business is expected to have 1,500 to 5,000 employees.
Powell said the facility would bring $800,000 in annual revenue to the city of Gardner, $352,000 to the fire district and $1.54 million to USD #231 once constructed.
Rob Shippy, school board president, and Pam Stranathan, USD 231 superintendent, were in the audience.
Randy Gregorcyk, patron and member of the Economic Advisory Committee, spoke in public comments. Among his recommendations was a .21 PILOT rate and an organizational fee of .41.
Council expressed concerns with truck traffic and intersections on US 56.
The memorandum of understanding was approved with an ‘aye’ vote. Councilman Lee Moore was absent.
Annexation on the west side
In the years since the city took over the Gardner Municipal Airport, it has purchased three residential properties that were in the Runway Protection Zone (RPZ).
For the airport to be in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dictates, the structures on these properties had to be demolished.
The city successfully negotiated with the owners, bought the properties and the structures are, or will soon be, demolished.
However, the properties that the city now owns, are not currently in Gardner city limits.
Staff recommended an ordinance to annex the properties.
Council approved Ordinance No. 2539 to annex the land with a 4-0 vote.
CVS Final Plat
The Planning Commission recommended acceptance of the right of way and easements for the CVS final plat. The CVS store will be on the northwest corner of W. Main and N. Center. Council approved with an ‘aye’ vote.
Discussion regarding the CVS store began over the year ago, some residents objected to the store as it would displace the residents of apartments and homes on 1.5 acres and the Kansas Department of Transportation required some changes.
Land for future facilities
Council considered a lease purchase agreement to finance 15.25 acres of land at 167th and Moonlight Road for future city facilities.
The documents also maintain tax exempt status for the city expenditure on the debt payments. Under the agreement, the city will make an annual payment of $75,650. See FARM, page 8
From FARMS, page 1Council approved Ordinance No. 2535 with a 4-0 vote.
Tweaking Land Development Code Council considered ordinance to make amendments to Title 17 of the Land Development Code. Title 17 defines building standards.
Larry Powell, economic development director, described the changes as “tweaking.”
Maximum allowance for building height increased from 4 stories to 5 stories is one of a number of modifications involving measurements or percentages for construction.
One subsection of the code describes a color palette to be used throughout developments, including roofs and awnings.
This section brought out discussion. Rich Melton, council member, said he didn’t like the city dictating colors.
Other members thought it would mainly apply to new subdivision development, and would only be complaint driven in existing neighborhoods.
In the end, council decided to change one word.
A sentence describing the color palette in the amended code reads:
“…color shall be approved before issuance of a certificate of occupancy.”
The word ‘approved’ was struck and replaced with ‘submitted’, and then council approved Ordinance No. 2533 with a 4-0 vote.
Lee Moore, council member was absent.
Bond Issuance
Council considered two ordinances and two resolutions to authorize issuance of General Obligation Bonds.
Laura Gourley, finance director, gave the staff presentation of all four items, with assistance of bond counsel.
Ordinance No. 2536 authorizes the issuance and delivery of $2.87 million in General Obligation Refunding and Improvement Bonds and provides for levy and annual tax to pay the bonds as they become due.
$1.45 million of that is for the Pavement Management Program.
$1.575 million is for refinancing 2008B Bonds to achieve interest cost savings.
According to Gourley, debt cost would be reduced by $162,000 over the 12 year term.
After the ordinance, the second step to complete the transactions for the sale of the bonds is a resolution, in this case Resolution No. 1959.
The second bond issuance is in the amount of $855,000 and pays for the cost of replacing Transformer No. 1 and associated breakers and breaker controls.
Council was presented with Ordinance No. 2537 and Resolution No. 1960 for that.
All were passed with 4-0 votes.
Briefly
Council approved a contract with Allen, Gibbs & Houlik for professional audit services for fiscal years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Council adopted an open records policy via Ordinance No. 2538
Council adopted a records management program via Resolution No. 1961.