With an error found in the Harvey County Unified Development Code regulations, action had to be taken. Planning and Zoning Director Gina Bell notified the county commission of the situation a couple of months ago and came back before the governing body with a resolution on Monday.
Notably, the amendment to the development code addresses zoning and subdivision regulations in the floodwater retarding dam breach impact district (FRD) — work on which began some time earlier, but was never formally approved by the planning commission.
Bell noted the initial plan for the new regulations, as well as proposed enhancements, were combined in the amendment ultimately brought before the planning commission (and, in turn, the county commission) for approval. Most questions about the amendment from the planning commission centered on whether those people living in the FDR breach impact area would be able to rebuild should something happen to their homes, which Bell noted would be the case.
"They were there in the beginning and you shouldn't have to just lose everything because regulations have changed," Bell said.
Ultimately, the final amendment was made to reflect that — as the regulations state that if residents in a dam breach inundation area of any hazard (not just low or medium) want to rebuild, they will have the ability to do so as long as they make a request to the planning commission.
While that opportunity to build in an FDR dam breach area will be allowed, it was noted that (more restrictive) floodplain regulations take top priority when authorizing residential or agricultural construction in such zones — the FDR dam breach district being a larger area right below the dam.
Letters about the new regulations were sent out to 387 landowners in the county and Bell noted there was good representation at the planning commission meetings discussing the changes (understanding what was covered) to the development code. Hearing the support behind the changes, the county commission unanimously voted to approve Resolution 2018-18 amending the Harvey County Unified Development Code to include FDR dam breach impact district regulations.
In other business, the county commission:
Noted a couple of issues for Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier to look into, including an additional intersection (SE 60th and Spencer Road) to add to a list for study.
Heard an update from County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber on the most recent sales tax numbers presented last week. Swartzendruber said the comparison between the numbers for August 2017 and August 2018 was skewed because there were a number of payments collected at that time last year. The year-over-year decline held at about six percent, though.
Was informed of a Kansas Association of Counties webinar on the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) that will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with the commission invited to attend. Commissioner Chip Westfall questioned if county employees within five years of retirement could be notified as well, though Swartzendruber pointed out the presentation is more in regards to the overall heath/bigger picture of KPERS.
Received an agenda for a joint meeting with the Newton City Commission Tuesday to go over plans for the law enforcement center remodel and a potential airport facilities improvement plan.
Learned that Swartzendruber is gathering information regarding the removal of the house at Camp Hawk, determining the best process (informal or closed bids) moving forward.
Gave a consensus for Health Director Lynnette Redington to move forward in pursuit of a women's community fund grant for around $2,000 to help address infant mortality rates in the county.
Heard a report from Bell on a number of developments in the eastern part of the county, including the establishment of a new solar farm, expansion of broadband through Butler County Electric and potential construction of a new cell tower on the north edge of Walton.
Approved the purchase of a used 2018 Dodge Charger (to serve as a patrol vehicle) from the Kansas Highway Patrol for the Harvey County Sheriff's Office at a total cost of $20,500, waiving purchasing policy.
Upon the recommendation of Parks Director Kass Miller — after further research — the commission approved the purchase of a used Hyundai R25Z-9AK mini-excavator From Victor L. Phillips at a total cost of $27,570, waiving purchasing policy. Of the machines Miller found, the Hyundai model was the best value (with the least amount of operational hours on it).