County deems residence imminent hazard

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners voted to designate a rural Easton residence an imminent health hazard.

A failing sanitary septic system at the residence has caused sewage to back up in the basement, according to County Counselor David Van Parys.

Commissioners deemed the residence, located on 243rd Street as unfit for human habitation. They took the action while convening as the Leavenworth County Board of Health.

Krystal Voth, director of the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department, said the people who had been living in the home are no longer staying there.

"They are working towards getting it where it needs to be, but it's a pretty dire situation," she said.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said county officials learned about the problem after a private contractor was called to the house.

"To be clear, this has been going on for quite a while," he said.

Voth said several feet of backed up sewage had collected in the basement of the home.

Commissioner Mike Stieben questioned if commissioners needed to take action if the problem already is being addressed.

Van Parys said the primary goal is to make sure the house is not inhabited until the problem has been remediated.

He said county officials can place a placard on the house indicating it is unfit for habitation. He said the placard can be removed once the problem is remediated.

Stieben made a motion to declare the residence an imminent health hazard and deem it uninhabitable until the problem is remediated.

The motion was approved 4-0. Commissioner Doug Smith was absent. Commissioner Jeff Culbertson participated in the meeting by phone.

Also Wednesday, commissioners approved two appointments to an advisory board for adult Community Corrections services. Commissioners appointed Jermaine Wilson and Jesse Johns to fill vacancies on the board.

Wilson also serves as a commissioner for the city of Leavenworth.

County commissioners also voted Wednesday to approve a bid from Leavenworth Excavating & Equipment Company, or Lexeco, for rock crushing services at a county-owned quarry near Tonganoxie.

While the county government owns the quarry located at 18673 McLouth Road, Lexeco has been hired to operate the facility. Another company previously operated the quarry for the county.

Bill Noll, the county's infrastructure and construction services director, said Lexeco will charge the county $8.20 for each ton of rock that comes from a crusher or $8.40 for each ton from a stockpile of rock that meets certain standards.

"Lexeco offered the lowest price per ton," he said.

Before the vote, Commissioner Vicky Kaaz said she has no financial interest in Lexeco. She said her husband formerly was one of the owners of the company, but he no longer has an interest in the company.

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Discussed guidance for county planning and zoning staff regarding when rezoning would be appropriate instead of a special use permit.

The discussion occurred during a work session that came after the commissioners' regular weekly meeting.