Leavenworth County commissioners have set a new date for a public hearing for a proposed sand mining operation that has faced opposition from residents.
The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 8 at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.
Commissioners scheduled the public hearing when they met Wednesday. The hearing will be conducted as commissioners consider a special use permit for a 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, the impact on neighboring property values and the possibility of pollution to water sources.
In July 2019, members of the Leavenworth County Planning Commission voted against recommending approval of the special use permit by a 4-3 margin.
The issue was then forwarded to the County Commission for consideration but has faced various delays.
Commissioners had scheduled a public hearing for April 15. But that was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
County Administrator Mark Loughry said Wednesday that representatives of Kaw Valley Companies have requested commissioners schedule a hearing on the proposal for June 24. But Loughry said it will take time to prepare notices of the meeting, and he does not think these can be prepared in time to allow for a 30-day notification period that previously has been called for by commissioners.
He suggested scheduling the public hearing for July 8 in order to allow for 30 days of advance notice.
Commissioner Mike Stieben suggested sending the matter back to the Planning Commission for review. He said the proposal has changed significantly since it was reviewed by the Planning Commission.
Stieben said he wants the proposal to be thoroughly vetted before it comes before the county commissioners. He said it seems like this should be the role of the Planning Commission.
Stieben made a motion to request the Planning Commission have a special meeting on June 24 to review the proposal.
The motion died without a vote because no one provided a second.
Some of the other commissioners expressed concern about causing additional delays.
“Stretching it out another 30 days, 60 days, 90 days I believe is unfair to the applicant as well,” Commissioner Chad Schmike said.
Schimke made a motion to have the public hearing before the Leavenworth County Commission on July 8. The meeting will start at 6 p.m.
The motion was unanimously approved.
County Administrator Mark Loughry said social distancing will still be practiced at that time.
“So we’ll still have a limited capacity,” he said.
He said a person who speaks during the meeting may have to leave the building after completing his or her comments so others can be accommodated.
Also Wednesday, commissioners voted to have a work session with a representative of the city of Tonganoxie to discuss unspent funds related to the development of the Tonganoxie Business Park.
In 2017, the county government gave the city of Tonganoxie $5 million to use for the development of the industrial park. About $1.7 million of the funding provided by the county remains unspent. According to an agreement between the two entities, this money should be returned to the county.
But Tonganoxie Mayor David Frese has requested a meeting with commissioners to discuss the possibility of the city using the remaining funds for expenses that, while related to the business park, may be outside the scope of the earlier agreement.
The county administrator will work out the logistics of how the meeting will be conducted given restrictions related to COVID-19.