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Lynne Hermansen
Approximately 60 acres of land near the New Century Airport was approved for commercial development Thursday, August 18.
Jay Leipzig, planning commissioner, said the Airport Commission had unanimously approved the rezoning of the 59.8 acres in July at Northeast Highway 56, West 175th Street and Cedar Niles from an agricultural and restricted industrial district to a heavy commercial district.
The land is 1,835 feet southeast from Runway 18-36.
“They don’t have a development plan,”he said. “The development parcel has been vacant for quite some time.”
Leipzig said in the future it would be a collaborative effort with the county, KDOT and the City of Gardner and there are nine stipulations.
The Airport Commission’s nine stipulations range from preliminary and final site development plans for review, future street access evaluation, access not conflicting with the safety and operations of the New Century AirCenter, commercial land use compatibility, large events of at least 500 people evaluated, measures meeting the Runway Protection Zone rules, the prohibition of permanent water features, drainage areas or heavily landscaped areas to mitigate the dangers of wildlife attraction, light fixtures shall be shielded and downcast with no horizontal or upward direction light to prevent glare or light spillage off-site, Final plats shall be submitted to and reviewed by the Airport Commission and approved by the BOCC prior to filing the final plats for recording. Affidavits of Interest regarding the location within one mile of the New Century AirCenter shall be filed in the chain of title of the subject properties and appropriate language for Airport Affidavits shall be included with final plats and Preliminary and Final Development Plans are subject to review for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 7460-1, Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration.
Leipzig said per the City of Gardner’s stipulations the land will go back to its original agricultural and restricted industrial zoning if a development plan hasn’t been submitted within a year.
“It is outside the runway protection zone and has no detrimental effects to the airport,”he said.
Ed Eilert, board chair, said he didn’t have any problems with the zoning.
“There could be issues with access and traffic movements,”he said. “FAA has standards to meet.”
Shirley Allenbrand, commissioner, said no one at the City of Gardner and Airport Commisson public hearings had spoken against the rezoning.
Charlotte O’Hara, commissioner, said she echoed Eilert’s comments about the land but was still concerned about growing development around the airport and protecting the safety of the airport and public.
Michael Ashcraft, commissioner, said they need to try to use the property in a constructive fashion and why the rezoning was seperate from the development plan and the timing.
Leipzig said it was about cost and timing considerations combined with a traffic study and civil engineer costs.
“It is an expensive parcel to develop,”he said. “The costs far exceeds a typical development. This gets the piece started but there are additional expenditures.”
Ashcraft said what were the percentages of airport excursions outside the flight corridor.
Leipzig said he didn’t have an answer.
Aaron Otto, airport commission, said they would research it.
“Unfortunately we had two crashes in February,”he said. “It’s the only RPZ the county doesn’t own.”