The chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission wants to set up parameters for a public hearing to consider a special use permit for a proposed sand mining operation.
Chairman Doug Smith said he wants to discuss with his fellow commissioners how much time should be set aside for public comment regarding a proposed surface mining operation in the area of 166th Street and Lenape Road.
Kaw Valley Companies, Kansas City, Kansas, is proposing to use the operation to quarry and stockpile sand.
The site is located within a floodway that is zoned for heavy industrial use.
The proposal has faced opposition from residents from southern Leavenworth County. People who are opposed to the proposed mining operation have expressed concern about increased truck traffic, neighboring property values and the possibility of pollution to water sources.
Staff from the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department have recommended the special use permit be granted with a requirement that a number of conditions be met.
On July 10, members of the county’s Planning Commission voted against recommending approval of the special use permit by a 4-3 margin.
Now the matter is before the Leavenworth County Commission.
County commissioners tabled the issue in August at the request of officials with Kaw Valley Companies.
Earlier this month, commissioners voted to “untable” the proposal and schedule a public hearing on the matter.
The hearing has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 15 at the Leavenworth County Courthouse, 300 Walnut St.
Smith said he wants to establish the parameters early so people will know what they are ahead of time. Smith said he wants all of the commissioners to provide recommendations.
“We’re going to have to figure out what we’re going to do,” he said.
Smith said he also wants to consult with legal counsel.
He wants commissioners to decide on how much time to allow for comments from the applicant and those who are in opposition.
“It just can’t go on and on forever,” he said.
Smith suggested priority may be given during the public hearing to speakers who live near the site of the proposed mining operation or along a proposed truck route for the business.
“We want to do them first,” Smith said.
During a County Commission meeting last week, Smith expressed concern about comments made by people opposed to the mining operation ahead of the scheduled public hearing. People recently have been commenting on the proposal during public comment periods of the commissioners’ weekly meetings.
“We can’t hold a public hearing on this every week,” Smith said during last week’s meeting.
Senior County Counselor David Van Parys suggested last week that people wanting to comment on the proposal submit statements in writing.
He said comments made during weekly public comment periods will not be part of the official record for the upcoming public hearing. He said comments made in writing will be included in the record.
“Oral testimony can be forgotten,” he said. “Details of it can be forgotten.”