Commissioners discuss rezoning county

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed whether they should rezone the entire county to match a new comprehensive plan.

Commission Chairman Mike Smith ultimately recommended not taking any action for now.

“I would say let this sit for right now,” he said.

The issue came up as Planning and Zoning Director Krystal Voth was providing a quarterly report to the County Commission.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson asked about plans for updating zoning in the county to match a future land use plan that was created as part of a new comprehensive plan for the county.

Voth said rezoning the entire county would be unusual.

“It’s not uncommon to rezone corridors,” she said.

Commissioners voted last year to rezone the County Road 1 corridor south of Tonganoxie to match a land use plan for that area.

Voth said rezoning the entire county would be “quite the undertaking.”

County Administrator Mark Loughry suggested it would be easier to rezone the county in chunks rather than doing the entire county at one time.

Commissioner Mike Stieben said he cannot imagine rezoning the entire county or even massive pieces of it. He suggested properties can be rezoned as people seek to develop them according to the future land use plan.

Culbertson questioned the idea of rezoning the county one parcel at a time. He said it seems like a lot of extra work for people to go through a rezoning process to make the zoning for their properties match the comprehensive plan.

Culbertson said people would not have to change the way they currently use their properties if the county rezones the land.

Commissioner Doug Smith expressed concern that neighbors have more say during the rezoning process than the applicants.

Voth said the county government would still be required to follow the normal rezoning process to rezone all of the county.

“All of the requirements for rezoning would still have to take place,” she said.

Loughry suggested commissioners can have more discussion about the issue in March.

He suggested one approach commissioners can take is rezoning specific areas of the county they would like to see developed.

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Approved an updated traffic impact policy.

• Approved the exchange of federal funds awarded to the county with money from Kansas Department of Transportation.

The exchanged funds will be used to reimburse a county fund for costs associated with a recent bridge project.

• Received quarterly reports about the Building and Grounds Department, Council on Aging and Community Corrections.