Last September, the Gardner City Council adopted a Consent for Annexation for the Hillsdale Water Treatment plant, located at 22705 South Moonlight Rd., in Miami County.
The Gardner City Council voted to start the process of annexing the city’s water treatment plant during a Sept. 3 meeting. At that time, Ryan Denk, city attorney, told council members that because the property was owned by the city, it did not have to go before the Miami County Commissioners and could be approved by the city council at the next meeting.
Miami County commissioners apparently disagreed, and the property has yet to be annexed by the City of Gardner. It will next be considered Jan. 15.
According to posted minutes from the Gardner Sept. 16 meeting, “Attorney Denk said no, the initial communication with Miami County was that an island annexation has to go before the county commissioners, except on city-owned land. If it’s city-owned property, we approve a consent or petition to ourselves. At the next meeting, you’ll approve an ordinance, and per Kansas Statute KSA 12 5282, an ordinance is all that’s needed, not county commission approval.”
Miami County Commissioners had a different interpretation.
According to an article in the Miami County Republic, Rob Roberts, Miami County commission chair, asked Denk, “How do you folks explain the fact that you began building your project prior to even receiving any oversight from the county and prior to us even having your annexation request?” Roberts asked. “Is it because you just simply don’t want to be under the county’s jurisdiction?”
Denk replied that the annexation petition was filed before the work began.
“I actually think you had the petition. It was filed back in October,” Denk replied to Roberts, according to the Republic. “It was, quite frankly, a misunderstanding. Under our understanding of the code, we could pour foundations without pulling permits, and your code enforcement folks took a different interpretation, so that’s the difference. It wasn’t an overt attempt to try to do an end-around your process.”
Gonz Garcia, utilities director, told the in council in September that city staff recommended annexing the plant to facilitate and expedite any necessary permitting, and so the city could have regulatory control over construction activities on site.
The 20 acre plant is located north of Hillsdale Lake in unincorporated Miami County. Gardner approved a $24,795,542 expansion project with the joint venture group of Burns and McDonnell and CAS constructors Inc.
Garcia told the council that by annexing the plant, the city will save more than $150,000 in Miami County permit fees.
At that time, Denk said the city does not need to get approval from the Miami County board of commissioners because the land on which the plant stands is owned by the city of Gardner.
The complete Miami County Republic article is available at https://www.republic-online.com/news/local_news/gardner-seeks-annexation-of-water-plant/article_92801afa-3098-11ea-b75f-ab62b59bde9d.html