Commissioners approve private roads policy

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners took up several planning and zoning matters.

Commissioners approved an amendment to zoning and subdivision regulations to allow the development of private roads.

They also approved two special use permits and tabled consideration of another special use permit.

Commissioners previously had discussed a potential policy regarding private roads in unincorporated areas of the county. And the amendment to the regulations was drawn up in response to direction from the commissioners.

The amendment will allow subdivisions known as cluster developments to be serviced by private roads, or what are referred to as cross access easements. These roads do not have to be built to county standards and the county will not maintain the roads.

The maintenance of the roads is the responsibility of the developer or future property owners.

The amendment was taken before the county’s Planning Commission last month. And members of that body voted to recommend the Leavenworth County Commission deny approval of the amendment.

Crystal Voth, interim planning and zoning director, said members of the Planning Commission voted against the amendment because they want to see design standards for the private roads.

County Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said he believes the policy is developer friendly.

He said the county would take over the maintenance responsibility of one of the private roads only after it is brought up to county standards.

County Commissioner Vicky Kaaz argued there should be some level of standards required for private roads in the county. She said emergency vehicles may need to travel on the roads.

The amendment to the regulations was approved 4-1 with Kaaz voting against the motion. The four votes provided the 2/3 majority needed to override the Planning Commission’s recommendation for denying the amendment.

County commissioners voted Wednesday to approve a special use permit for B&G Automotive, 20271 167th St.

In this case, a majority of the Planning Commission supported the special use permit. But staff from the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department recommended that county commissioners deny the permit for the automotive repair shop.

Voth voiced concerns about the business being located in a fully developed subdivision. She said the business is accessed by a road within the subdivision.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith said a number of people had submitted letters in support of the business.

“So obviously they’re a good business,” he said.

County commissioners unanimously approved a three-year special use permit for the business. The permit comes with various conditions.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to renew a special use permit for a child care facility operated by Trinity Family of Faith Lutheran Church, 16928 Evans Road.

Commissioners voted to table consideration of a special use permit for Tri-Hull Crane Rental, 24838 Loring Road.

Voth suggested tabling the matter until Nov. 4 to allow the Kansas Department of Transportation time to study the intersection of U.S. 24-40 and Loring Road.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to table the matter. Culbertson voted against the motion.

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