County denies permit for second indoor baseball training facility

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners voted to deny a special use permit for an indoor baseball training facility near Tonganoxie.

This marked the second time this month commissioners have denied a special use permit for an indoor baseball training facility.

The special use permit that was under consideration Wednesday was for TNT Baseball Academy, 19897 178th St.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to deny approval of the permit. Commissioner Mike Stieben voted against the motion.

Staff members of the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department recommended the permit be denied. However, a majority of the members of the Leavenworth County Planning Commission had voted earlier to recommend approval of the permit.

A valid protest petition was submitted by people who live in the area of the indoor baseball training facility.

Owner Trent West had been operating the TNT Baseball Academy out of a building on his property without a special use permit. The permit was needed because the property is in an area that is zoned for residential use.

According to a website for TNT Baseball Academy, the facility was made available to rent. And private lessons were offered at the facility.

According to Krystal Voth, director of the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department, the county issued a building permit for the construction of the accessory building in 2020.

At that time, Voth said, county staff members were not made aware that the building would be used as an indoor baseball training facility.

"We discovered the operation when we investigated the other baseball facility," Voth said.

Voth was referring to another indoor baseball training facility near Lansing. Commissioners voted earlier this month to deny a special use permit for that facility as well.

West told commissioners Wednesday he built the accessory building for the two teams his sons play for.

"That was the initial reason for me to build this building," he said.

He said the building was opened up to others because of the need for such a facility.

West said the facility is operated as a nonprofit organization.

Commissioner Vicky Kaaz said she struggles with voting in favor of special use permits for business owners who began their operations without first obtaining a permit.

Stieben argued the facility benefits the community.

"What's more Americana than baseball?" he said.

He said the facility is beneficial to children.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said, had the County Commission voted to approve the permit, he would have recommended a condition requiring the owner to pay for paving the gravel road in front of the property.

He said the additional traffic resulting from the operation of the facility is too much for a gravel road.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Tabled a request to rezone a 12-acre parcel at 254th Street and Conley Road from a rural residential zone that requires lots to be a minimum of five acres to a rural residential zone with lots a minimum size of 2.5 acres.

A motion to approve the request was defeated with only Commissioners Jeff Culbertson and Mike Smith voting in favor of it.

But commissioners then voted 4-1 to rescind the earlier vote. Commissioner Mike Stieben voted against rescinding the earlier vote.

Commissioners then voted unanimously to table the matter for two weeks.

At least some of the commissioners want to see if the applicant will file a deed restriction that will limit the property to being divided into no more than three lots.

• Approved a request to rezone land located at 19393 State Ave. from a rural residential zone to a general business zone. A business already has been operating at that location with a special use permit from the county.

• Voted to renew a special use permit for an archery range and pro shop at 14702 Timber Lane.

Planning and Zoning Department staff recommended denying the renewal. But the Leavenworth County Planning Commission had voted to recommend approval of the renewal.