By Jim Misunas
LARNED — The Larned City/Pawnee County Planning Commission made a recommendation to approve the rezoning for a portion of the property requested by the Pawnee County Co-op.
The Pawnee County Co-op requested a zoning change from R-2 Two Family Residential to I-1 Light Industrial Zone for the Toles and Adams Addition; a vacant property east of the former Doerr Metal Factory; and properties at 308 E. 4th, 318 Toles and 424 Johnson.
The zoning change would allow for agricultural chemicals and dry fertilizer manufacturing/mixing. The Pawnee County Co-op will store dry fertilizer at the property.
Lots 20 through 24 were recommended to be changed to industrial while lots 13 through 19 were recommended to remain zoned residential. Two homes judged to be inhabitable will be torn down on East 3rd.
The Larned City Council will have an opportunity to vote on the recommended zoning change at a future date. The Co-op will also likely have to request a conditional use permit for the operation through the city council.
“We negotiated in its best interests of the community for the safety and welfare of the people who live there and the Pawnee County Co-op,” said Kim Barnes, Pawnee County Co-op. “We’re trying to live within the rules of the community and we’re trying to do what’s right.”
Some concern had been expressed with several property and utility markers, but Barnes said a Global Positioning System property survey was required to clearly mark property lines.
“The property needed to be surveyed so the Co-op knows exactly what it is buying,” Barnes said.
Shirley Caro, 307 E. 3rd, presented a petition to the planning board expressing opposition to the proposed rezoning change.
“We respectfully request the Pawnee Co-op board to consider its plans,” the petition states. “Our objections will negatively affect our neighborhood. This plant will devalue our property values. The commercial development will decrease our neighborhood and environment.”
About three dozen people attended Thursday’s meeting.
“It went pretty good. We didn’t expect that many people to show up, but I went block-to-block and we had a really good turnout,” she said. “We got them thinking and we got our point across.”
Caro said she asked a thought-provoking question when she asked planning board members what they would think if a fertilizer operation would be built in their neighborhood. She said no one responded to her question.
“They were silent. They didn’t have anything to say,” she said.
Caro said they are concerned about possible health-related issues, including fumes, dust and noise. She believes older citizens with pre-existing health conditions could be negatively affected. She said she wants care to be taken to monitor the truck’s speed and insure that children in the neighborhood are not put at risk. One solution raised to minimize the dust would be to pave some of the dirt roads.
She would like to find out what chemicals would be mixed and blended at the plant.
Hugh Mounday, representing the Pawnee County Co-op, made an application for a conditional use permit/variance at the Toles and Adams Addition, a vacant property east of the former Doerr Metal Factory, and properties at 308 E. 4th, 318 Toles and 424 Johnson.
The Co-op plans to park semis legally on part of the property and build a fertilizer building that will help with distribution. Some property will be cleared on E. 3rd.
The Larned Board of Zoning Appeals will consider a height variance next week for a proposed building that would currently be limited to 45 feet. The Board of Zoning Appeals has scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 11 at the city offices, 417 Broadway. Jim Froetschner serves as chairperson for the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The property being considered has been classified as industrial and would allow the mixing of blending of fertilizer. The fertilizer apparatus that would be used at the plant measures 125 feet.