After several months of discussion and research, Harvey County Commissioners gave Craig and Julie Miller the green light to operate a retreat/campground in an agricultural zoning district.

Last November, the Harvey County Regional Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals approved a conditional use permit for the Millers' property at 6608 N. River Park Road near Moundridge, but county commissioners thought the permit needed to be more restrictive to protect the land from unauthorized use in the future.

The Millers, who purchased the property in 2011, requested the permit in order to operate a retreat for those in the ministry who may need a chance to get away and seek physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Their plans for the 40+ acre-property include several cabins, a multipurpose building, animal housing, picnic pavilions and bathhouse/restroom facilities.

The Harvey County Commissioners approved the permit at their Monday meeting, with the condition there be only four cabins on the property and only one permanent residence. Three of the cabins will be newly constructed, and the existing residence on the property will be converted to a larger cabin. Length of stay in the cabins will be limited to one month, unless the zoning administrator gives permission for a longer stay.

The water at the property must be tested for drinking suitability, and the Harvey County environmental director must approve the plan for the sewer.

The cabins will include bathrooms and kitchenettes. A multipurpose building could be used for small gatherings, such as wedding receptions, and the Millers also may set up a hobby farm with a few animals, such as several hogs, cattle and chickens.

The county’s planning and zoning director, Gina Bell, said the neighbors surrounding the property have been contacted, and there were no objections to the proposed use, as long as there was not a commercial shooting range on the property.

Work on the project is slated to begin this year with construction of two cabins and the digging of a pond. Construction of picnic pavilions and possibly the construction of another cabin is scheduled for 2014.

Other business

Commissioners also authorized the sheriff's department to move ahead with plans to purchase seven traffic radar units.

Although the sheriff's department originally had requested $16,500 in funding in 2013 to purchase in-car video camera systems, Chief Deputy Mark Hardtarfer said the department now has a greater need for the traffic radar units.

Hardtarfer said the current refurbished units were purchased about a decade ago and are expensive to repair. He also said it's important to have up-to-date and accurate equipment for traffic speed enforcement, since speeding violations can be contested in court.

Hardtarfer recommended using the Stalker Radar brand, which he said is one of the most reliable brands on the market. Estimated cost for the radar units is $14,700.