Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
The Edgerton City Council approved rezoning of five parcels of land South of Kobota from rural to industrial land designations for Logistics Park at the March 11 meeting.
Northpoint plans to build 11 warehouses of 9.7 million square feet on 640 acres of land.
The land approved for rezoning at the following addresses were approved by all council members to have planning commissioners approve except for council member Josh Lewis:
33.915 acres of land at 32425 W 207th St
5.903 acres of land at 32295 W 207th St
All council members approved the following land rezoning except for council members Josh Lewis and Katee Smith:
16.530 acres of land at 32285 W. 207T
22.088 acres of land at 32330 W. 213TH
56.528 acres of land on the northwest corner of OF W. 213TH St and S Killcreek Rd
The rest of the annexed land was sent back to planning commission to study for rezoning without a public hearing with no approvals at this time from city council:
Land southeast of the intersection of @199th St and S Gardner Rd
Land located northeast of the intersection of W 207th St
Land located northeast of the intersection of @ 207th St and S Gardner Rd
Two parcels of land located southwest of the intersection of W 207th St and S Gardner Rd
Land located Southeast of the intersection of West 207th St and S Gardner Rd
Land located northeast of the intersection of W 215 St and S Gardner Rd
Hundreds of landowners, homeowners and farmers packed city hall and the overflow room at the public library across the street. Most were there to address their opposition to city council members on the land acquisition and rezoning.
Several people also wore shirts expressing their opposition to Northpoint.
The main theme of the public comments to city council were concerns about truck traffic, noise and lights at all hours of the day and night, the violation of Kansas statues rezoning to industrial from rural, decreasing property values and being unable to sell their homes and lack of property rights.
Mary Cook, resident, said she had lived in the area for 40 years and was shocked. “Warehouses are moving through the country like a cancerous growth,” she said. “Northpoint is about to release a pernicious disease.”
Cook said it was too late to reverse the damage. “The jewel of Johnson County is now a wasteland of steel and concrete,” she said.
Cook’s spouse Dennis Cook said he wasn’t opposed to all development, but to the surrounding land acquisition for this expansion of LPKC.
Jennie Cook, Mary Cook’s daughter-n-law, said the city was being controlled by Northpoint. “You’re being lied to,” she said. “You would never live next to what you’re proposing.”
Cook said no one has backbone to stand up for what is right. “How would you feel if we did the same to you,” she said. “We deserve better.”
Forty year resident Connie Mayberry said their forever homes and lives were being destroyed. “This is fraud,” she said. “You need to restore integrity and the community.”
Thirty two year resident Tony Black said the area used to be a highly desirable place to live where residents live for their whole lives. “This sets the stage to allow LPKC to keep sprawling through Johnson and Miami Counties and strand residents,” he said.
Ben Johnson, Gardner, said his realtor never knew intermodal was going to grow towards the direction of his house. He said he received the notice on Christmas Eve, and couldn’t reach the city for four days due to the city being closed for the holiday.
“The more and more I dig I find out Northpoint owns all these cattle companies,” Johnson said.
The land, controlled by NorthPoint, was bought under the names of Wellsville Farms, LLC, Hillsdale Land & Cattle LLC, East Kansas Land & Cattle LLC and South JOCO Farms, LLC.
Resident Mary Cunningham, resident, said they were part of the rural backbone of Johnson County. “We are part of the beautiful open spaces of southwest Johnson County” she said.
Cunningham said she understood capitalism and profit, but they could never return to the land once it is destroyed.  “Our story is the story of America not just the region,” she said.
Chris Cardwell, urban conservationist with Miami County, said the warehouses were effecting the water quality of the Hillsdale Watershed. “It is dangerously compromised,” he said. “It is grossly negligent and harmful to Hillsdale Lake and the drinking water.”
Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor, said he was familiar with the Miami County Conservation group. “I care about Hillsdale Lake and issues with that,” he said. Roberts said however their website said they were exceeding all the goals the last few years.
Erin Gallagher, Stop Northpoint volunteer spokesperson, said she had organized and filed a lawsuit in Joliet, Ill., and wanted to prevent what happened there from happening in Edgerton.
She said people don’t like living next to warehouses and Northpoint tax abatements influence a county. “I know what corruption smells like, and it doesn’t pass the smell test,” she said.
Edgerton City Council met on Dec. 17, 2020 to discuss annexing the seven parcels of land controlled by Northpoint between 199th street and 215th street and Gardner road to Moonlight road.
Two areas of the annexed land were the southwest corner of 207th and Gardner Road and south of the intersection. Minutes from the meeting do not mention rezoning plans, and the annexed land passed unanimously 4-0.
Kara Banks, Edgerton public information officer, told The Gardner News there were no development plans at that time.
The staff report for the January rezoning hearing showed an application fee for rezoning of the seven parcels of land from rural residential to Logistics Park paid by Northpoint CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn six days before the annexation meeting on Dec 11, 2020.
The Northpoint application was verified on Dec 22 and rezoning notifications were sent on Dec. 23, 2020.
Not everyone who spoke at the council meeting was against the Logistic Park land acquisition and expansion.
Several LPKC employees spoke in favor of the development and said LPKC had been life changing for them.
Scott Mueller, LPKC employee, said if a place gets more people into their town the more money comes into town to improve the local life.
Carl Derr, project manager from Central Plumbing and AC in Paola Kan., said Edgerton was a great community to work in, spend money in and donate to.
“Better infrastructure is provided thanks to these warehouses,” he said. “This is a good opportunity for the community to grow.”
Josh Peterson, LPKC employee, said he had come from a small town in Missouri similar to Edgerton and when there are no jobs in a community people leave.
Fred Fraley, resident, owns three farms on Moonlight Road and said as a landowner he wasn’t against it. “We need this type of business to further growth and provide jobs,” he said.
Roberts and Beth Linn, city administrator, addressed the main public comments.
Roberts and Linn said they cannot designate roads as truck routes because Johnson County designates all roads as truck routes.
“I’d like to see that changed,” Roberts said. “I don’t make the rules.”
Roberts said none of the project debt had been a tax burden on residents. He said also that none of the roads had ever been pay to access roads.
Patrick Robinson, Northpoint vice president, said they had come to Edgerton as partners and considered them as a partnership.
Council members also passed a tax abatement and industrial revenue bonds for Northpoint related to the land acquisition and rezoning warehouse project for $238 million.
Charlotte O’Hara, 3rd District Johnson County Commissioner, said she didn’t approve the bonds.
“This doesn’t work or decrease property taxes,” she said. “This is a geographically driven project and unnecessary.” O’Hara said Northpoint was the Captains of Capitalism and why were they wanting the residents to subsidize their business.
O’Hara said Northpoint had honed it to an art and 10 cents on the dollar in taxes was insane.
“This is a huge scam,” she said. “It’s the big guys taking money from the little guy, and if it was working our taxes would be going down.”