Johnson County Airport Commission met on May 23 to consider several items including the Gardner Justice Center and a ground lease for Fire District 1. Staff photo by Rick Poppitz

Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Johnson County Airport Commission (JCAC) met on May 23 to consider approval of the Gardner Justice Center construction, a ground lease agreement with Fire District 1, a renewal lease agreement for a long time client in Hangar 5 and a special use permit for the rock quarry operation on 159th Street.

Quarry Special Use Permit
Commission was asked to consider renewal of a Special Use Permit for the existing quarry, construction and demolition landfill operation on 240 acres at 23775 W. 159th Street.
Paul Greely, deputy director of the County Planning and Zoning office, gave the item presentation.
The property is in an area designated as an Airport Industrial Park. The quarry business is not airport related, however it has existed for many years without any known detrimental effects to the nearby airport operations.
A Special Use Permit was last issued by the city and county ten years ago. The renewal will be effective until 2020, when the owners will again have to apply for renewal. The previous permit had a term of ten years. The reason for the short term in this case is that the owners have another quarry property with a ten year term expiring in 2020.  This action will put the renewals in sync, where they both come up for renewal at the same time in the future.
Mike Brown, county commissioner, district 6, asked what the life expectancy of quarries like this were. The answer was that this one was expected to have reserves to last 18-22 years.
Motion was to approve was made by Lee Harris, commission vice-chair, seconded and carried by a vote with none opposed.

The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at 8:30 a.m. June 12, for the new Justice Center, to be located at University Drive and Moonlight Road. The property was annexed by the city in 2003. The building is to be constructed on five acres of the northeast portion of the 15 acre plot of city owned land. Voters approved the construction in 2017. Opening date is estimated to be in Fall 2019. The law enforcement center will house both the police department and the municipal court, accounting for nearly 50 employees. With 71 percent of the voters approving the funding to construct this facility, the city will build an approximately 30,000 square-feet structure. The size of the facility will address the current spacing issues and continual growth of the community as well as the police department, according to the 2015 space-needs study. Submitted graphic

Gardner Justice Center
The next item of consideration for JCAC the final development plan for the Gardner Justice Center at University Drive and Moonlight Road.
Paul Greely, deputy director of the county planning and zoning office, gave the item presentation. Michelle Kriks, Gardner planner, was in attendance and available for questions.
County and airport staff have no concerns with the application and recommended approval.
The Gardner City Council approved the plan on May 21, however because the site is within the statutory one mile area of New Century Airport, it also requires county consideration and approval.
The JCAC members voted unanimously to approve. The item moves to the Board of County Commissioners for final approval.
50 year lease renewal
The staff recommendation to approve a new lease with a longtime hangar tenant was presented to commission by Aaron Otto, executive director.
“One of our oldest leases is expiring this year, which is Hangar 5, previously with Executive Beechcraft, now with Butler National,” he said.
Otto said the contract renewal has involved “lots and lots and lots” of conversations over the past months and years.
“With some creative work done, that got us to the point that everybody’s very pleased with what’s presented in front of you,” said Otto.
The term of the lease is 50 years, with two 10 year mutual extensions.
The JCAC members voted unanimously to approve.

FD1 Ground Lease
The commission considered a ground lease  with Fire District 1 for the fire station at New Century.
Station 121 was built in 1997, financed by general obligation bonds with a 20 year term. FD1 believed that previous payments and improvements were earning some ownership of the building throughout that term, but the building remained county property.
In 2017 FD1 was presented with a new lease of $71,304 per year, payable in monthly installments. The lease rate was required because FAA regulations, that weren’t in effect 20 years ago, now demand all buildings are charged fair market value. JCAC said they had no choice but to comply.
FD1 is now buying the building, with possible closing on the sale in June. The district will then own the building, but not the land it sits on, creating the need for this ground lease.
“This is our standard land based agreement at 16 cents a square foot for the exact same parcel they’ve had for the last twenty-some years. […] We need to put this in place so when the building does transfer title and deed to fire district, this is ready to kick in as well,”said Otto.
The motion was made with a blank date, which will be filled in on the building closing date.
The lease has a 30 year term with two optional ten year extensions.
Dennis Meyer, FD1 assistant fire chief, said he appreciated commission efforts to get this resolved and was happy it was coming to closure after nearly two years of discussions.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the ground lease for Fire Station 121.