Proposed changes to development regulations
A proposed repeal of an exception to a policy requiring all entrances to Pottawatomie County subdivisions to be connected to paved roads has been put on hold.
The exception currently allows entrances to secondary roads in these subdivisions to enter onto paved roads as long as they meet certain conditions.
This proposal, which was brought up at the Pottawatomie County Commission meeting this morning, has been postponed due to concerns over how future work on paved roads would be shared between developers and the county.
“The reason it got brought up is that staff had felt that that exception relieved developers of an obligation and it put that onus on the county to make that paving happen in the future as the demand for paving would increase as development occurs adjacent to those roads,” Peter Clark, the director of the Pottawatomie County Public Works department, said.
The issue can also extend into the political realm as the conversation moves to asking developers to devote more of their money to development.
“The general question of asking developers to pay more for development, to have more responsibility financially for development through paving roads adjacent to their development can be a difficult topic and I think that has some political concerns connected to it,” Clark said. “That is why it kind of bounced around today on whether we should or should not rescind that policy.”
Moving forward, the plan is to reopen the discussion during the commission’s meeting on Dec. 30th and then make a decision on Jan. 6th.
The commission did make a decision on another proposed policy amendment this morning.
This amendment will better align building codes defined in the county’s Unified Development Regulations with building codes recently adopted by the Blue Township Sewer District.
A difference in building codes listed in the UDR and those in place in the Blue Township Sewer District is which structures require a building permit.
In other Pottawatomie County Commission news…
Fire Department attends Wildfire Outlook Seminar
The Fire Department obtained a forecast for the upcoming burn season, which is said to go Feb. – May, during the Wildfire Outlook Seminar in Hutchinson Saturday.
According to Jared Barnes, the Pottawatomie County Fire Supervisor, the upcoming burn season should be fairly normal, but one concern is how much fuel there is as a result of previous moisture and precipitation.
“We had a very wet season last year,” Barnes said. “The growing season was very wet, so there is a lot of fuel out there right now and some tall fuel. With the snow, that helps the ground moisture, There is some moisture in the snow, so it’s going to help the ground moisture, but it’s also going to pack a lot of those fuels down.”
Barnes said the fuel being packed down can be good because it results in a slower burn, but it can also be a concern because it can cause embers to get trapped.
Concerns about Elm Slough Rd. project
Commissioner Pat Weixelman expressed concerns over the amount of time that is being used to obtain the right-of-way required for the Elm Slough Rd. project.
“I drove that the other day and it’s terrible,” Weixelman said. “I don’t know what the estimated cost for that road is but I’m about to the point where we put a load of rock or two on it and be done (and) just hold the project for a year or two…mothball it.”
According to Peter Clark, the director of the Pottawatomie County Public Works Department, the county has spent a couple of years acquiring right-of-way and has most of what it needs, but Weixelman may want staff to temporarily move on to a different project.
“He’s concerned that we’re spending a lot of time (on the Elm Slough Rd. project) and we could spend that time on a different project. If those land owners are not ready to move forward, we could shift our focus to a different road to make improvements.”
For more information about ongoing or future road projects, visit pottcounty.org.
Installation of a new tornado siren
With the installation of a new tornado siren earlier this month, the coverage of the tornado-warning system in southern Pottawatomie County has increased.
The siren was installed near the intersection of Dwight Dr. and Kelliann Way.
2020 agriculture values
According to the Pottawatomie County Appraiser’s Office, the overall medians of 2020 agriculture values from the Kansas Property Valuation Department have increased.
Croplands have increased by 6 percent, native grasslands have increased by 5 percent and tame grass has increased by 9 percent.