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Ordinance to allow golf carts on streets fails
Rezoning request for vacant lot goes back to Planning Commission
north annex
City of Great Bend North Annex

North Annex provided new use of space

At the end of the Great Bend City Council meeting on Monday, May 20, council members, city staff and the public were invited to tour the former Great Bend Police Department/Municipal Court building, which has now been named the North Annex. It houses offices for Public Lands, Inspections, and Property Maintenance.

The changes are all on the ground floor and the upstairs is not being used.

Assistant City Administrator Logan Burns showed some of the remodeled spaces now being used as offices and a meeting room.

The former Municipal Courtroom is now empty but could be used for Planning Commission meetings in the future.“The only work we did in here is painting; this is still a work in progress,” he said.

Staff worked on the building for one and a half months. “I think it turned out well,” Burns said.

Some plumbing issues were fixed, so now the building “smells better.” 

The vote to adopt an ordinance that would allow golf carts on some city streets was 4-1 at Monday’s Great Bend City Council meeting, but it failed because at least five votes were needed.

Three city council members and Mayor Cody Schmidt were absent from Monday’s meeting. With five members present, they could conduct business but needed affirmative votes from all five to approve an ordinance.

Members absent were Rickee Maddox, Lindsey Krom-Craven and Davis Jimenez. Council member Cory Urban, who presided over the meeting in place of the mayor, voted against the ordinance. Those voting in favor were Kevyn Soupiset, Alan Moeder, Jolene Biggs and Tina Mingenback.

City Attorney Allen Glendenning explained the key features of the ordinance under consideration. Standard Traffic Ordinances adopted by the City prohibit the operation of golf carts, micro-utility trucks and work-site utility vehicles on the streets of Great Bend “unless authorized by the city.” If it had passed, the ordinance would have allowed people to get an annual city tag so they could legally drive their golf carts on some city streets, but not on highways (such as 10th Street, Main Street and K-96) or major streets Broadway or McKinley.

With the 4-1 vote being one vote short of passing, Urban commented, “It dies on the vine, essentially.”

Rezoning request

The council also considered a rezoning request from Jack Manasses on behalf of Manasses Enterprises LLC. He owns a vacant corner lot at 1620 Baker Ave. that is zoned R-2 (Two-Family). By changing it to C-2 (General Commercial), he could park his trailers and equipment inside the lot and then put an 8-foot tall screened fence around the property.

Assistant City Administrator Logan Burns explained that because of the size of the lot and setbacks, no residential property could be built there. The width of any building built there could only be 12.5 feet as the property is only 37.5 feet wide. The Planning Commission discussed what would happen if it was zoned C-2 but no fence was put up. Anything stored there and not screened from public viewing would be a zoning violation.

City staff had recommended denying the request due to spot zoning and residential zoning in the immediate vicinity. The Planning Commission voted to reject the staff recommendation, reasoning Manasses’ plan was the only practical use of the property and that it would be fenced and screened.

Councilwoman Joleen Biggs said she was concerned about what might happen in the future. For example, a welding shop could go there. If it were her neighborhood, she would rather see a vacant lot, she said. She announced she would not vote for the rezoning and with only five present that meant a motion would fail. However, she proposed an alternative.

“I would prefer to send it back to the Planning Commission,” Biggs said. She put that in the form of a motion and it passed 5-0.