Commissioners to finally hear sand quarry request

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A year after a planning commission took up the issue, Leavenworth County’s top governing body is scheduled this evening to finally conduct a public hearing on a request for a special use permit for a sand quarry.

County commissioners are scheduled to conduct the hearing regarding what is commonly referred to the Lenape sand quarry during a special meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Leavenworth County Courthouse. Commissioners may vote on the special use permit at the conclusion of the hearing.

The hearing will focus on a special use permit for a proposed surface mining operation in the area of 166th Street and Lenape Road in southeast Leavenworth County. Kaw Valley Companies, Kansas City, Kansas, is proposing to use the operation to quarry and stockpile sand deposits. The sand would be transported to another location for additional processing.

Officials with the company have indicated the quarry could provide about 4,000 tons of sand per day when at full production capacity, according to information prepared by Krystal Voth, interim director of the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department.

The site of the proposed sand quarry is located within a floodway that is zoned for heavy industrial use.

The proposal has faced opposition from residents from southern Leavenworth County. People who are opposed to the proposed mining operation have expressed concern about increased truck traffic, the impact on neighboring property values and the possibility of pollution to water sources.

In July 2019, members of the Leavenworth County Planning Commission voted against recommending approval of the special use permit by a 4-3 margin.

The issue then was forwarded to the Leavenworth County Commission for consideration. But the issue has faced various delays.

The most recent delay stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of an April 15 public hearing on the issue.

Social distancing restrictions will be in place for this evening’s meeting.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said the 12 seats available in the audience area of the County Commission meeting room have been assigned to the first 12 people who signed up to speak during the meeting.

The seats are spaced apart to allow for social distancing.

Others who have signed up to speak will have to wait outside the Leavenworth Courthouse until it is their turn to speak.

“We will have a sheriff’s officer escort them up,” Loughry said. “And we will just keep them rotating through.”

People who visit the Leavenworth County Courthouse are required to wear masks.

Documents related to the proposed sand quarry have been compiled for commissioners ahead of this evening’s meeting. The documents, which total 1,100 pages, include various reports as well as written comments from members of the public.

The documentation also includes a 300-page booklet put together by people who are opposed to the sand quarry.

Planning and Zoning Department staff members recommend the approval of the special use permit but with conditions, according to a report prepared by Voth.

The proposed conditions include Kaw Valley Companies paying for improvements to the specified hauling route and a restriction on the hours of truck traffic to and from the sand quarry.

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