County files response to sand quarry lawsuit

John Richmeier

Attorneys for Leavenworth County are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed by a company seeking to operate a sand quarry in the county.

Lawyers for the county filed a response to the lawsuit Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court.

The lawsuit was filed last month as an appeal to a condition placed on a special use permit for Kaw Valley Companies, Kansas City, Kansas.

On July 15, county commissioners approved the special use permit to allow Kaw Valley Companies to operate a surface mining operation in the area of 166th Street and Lenape Road.

Officials with Kaw Valley are objecting to a condition of the special use permit that requires the company to pay to bring roads that will be used for the sand quarry’s truck hauling route “up to county standards prior to hauling.” This includes the reconstruction of the roads that will be used for the route.

Justin Johl, an attorney for Kaw Valley, argues in the lawsuit that the condition is “unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious,” which is denied by the county.

The county’s written response, which was signed by attorney Christopher Heigele, argues “that damage to the haul route became a critical issue when Kaw Valley’s engineer indicated at the (July 10, 2019 Planning Commission) meeting that improvements would need to be made to the road for safety reasons.”

The sand quarry has faced opposition from residents in southern Leavenworth County. People opposed to the mining operation have expressed concern about safety issues including increased truck traffic as well as the impact on neighboring property values.

Commissioners approved the special use permit by a vote of 4-1. Commissioner Mike Stieben voted against it.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR