County approves aggregate company expansion

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Vogts Materials is wanting to expand its operations on Old 81 near Newton, a location that the company uses to mine and sell top soil, sand and aggregates.

Vogts Materials is wanting to expand its operations on Old 81 near Newton, a location that the company uses to mine and sell top soil, sand and aggregates. 

The company purchased 10 acres of farm ground connected to the current site, and applied for a conditional use permit to expand onto the acres purchased. 

In the process of that application, it was discovered that Vogts had not previously issued performance bonds to ensure the reclamation/clean up of the site should it be closed. The company had also not gone through state permitting processes. 

Vogts went through state processess, which slowed the application for a conditional use perment. The conditional use permit was approved, unanimously, by the county planning and zoning commission with a list of limitations. That permit, and limitations, were brought in front of the county commission May 25.

The commission approved a Motion to approve the conidtional use permet, with no performance bond. 

Vogts took over an existing materials buisness in 1999, and has operated the mining operation since that time. 

"It was left in the state it was in before we took it over. We were not aware of any state requirement at that point, and maybe there was," saidl Alan Vogts, one of the owners of the company."

He told the commission the company "became aware" of the state process for permitting when informed as such by Gina Bell, the director of the county planning and zoning department. 

He also told the commission the company does not have a desire to issue performance bonds or reclamation bonds, instead wanting to invest in other things. The company has, he said, constructed buildings and a scale at the site in the past several years, and in the conditional use permit application gave plans for reclamation including adding some fill to the hole left, seeding of grass and other plans for reclamation as the company begins to use new property. 

"When we are done, most of the ones we have, it ends up with water. .... when it is all done it will be a recreational area of some kind," Vogts said. "... We are not from way out of twon somewhere. What we do is done in a good way."

The estimated cost of a bond for the property was about $700 annually — a cost of $7,000 over the course of 10 years. 

"We would be supportive of whatever direction you go. We would not want to spend a lot of money every year that we could spend on other things," Vogts said. 

In the end, the commission approved the conditional use permit, without the requirement of a performance bond.