Judge rules in favor of county in sand quarry lawsuit

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A judge has ruled in favor of the Leavenworth County commissioners in a lawsuit concerning a proposed sand quarry.

The lawsuit focused on a special use permit for a sand quarry in southern Leavenworth County.

Kaw Valley Companies sought the permit to operate a surface mining operation in the area of 166th Street and Lenape Road.

Commissioners approved the permit in July 2020, but they included a number of conditions. One of the conditions requires Kaw Valley Companies 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 hauling route.

Attorneys for Kaw Valley Companies filed an appeal of the commissioners' decision in Leavenworth County District Court. The company did not object to the commissioners approving the permit. But the company appealed the requirement for the reconstruction of roadways.

In a written decision released Wednesday, District Judge David King ruled the condition for improving the roadways was "supported by sound engineering. The (Board of County Commissioners) acted reasonably."

"A review of the record in this case shows that the BOCC engaged in a thorough and thoughtful review of plaintiff’s SUP application over a period of more than a year," King wrote in his decision. "Its conclusion that the present roads comprising the haul route would not survive the 25 year term of the SUP was supported by engineering analysis."

King stated commissioners could have denied the special use permit. But instead, they offered for Kaw Valley Companies a way to go forward.

King wrote in his ruling that Kaw Valley Companies "doesn’t like the path offered by the BOCC and wants this court to come to its rescue." The judge stated state law does not authorize him to do this.

Justin Johl, an attorney for Kaw Valley Companies, said Friday in an email that his client plans to appeal King's ruling.

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.

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