ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Jim Kaup, the Topeka attorney who consults for Marion County in matters of planning and zoning, and solid waste, offered Monday to help the Marion County Commission in a public hearing on zoning changes that might promote more small-acreage development.
His offer came following discussion that Planning and Zoning Commissions members aren’t comfortable having the hearing without a new planning administrator to succeed David Brazil.
At one point, Kaup suggested waiting to plan a hearing until a new planning administrator is on hand. But Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he wanted to push forward with the hope that a new administrator might be hired by the hearing.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was delayed coming to the meeting by a phone call from persons who wanted to build two homes on 20 acres. He said he receives such calls monthly, and every time new regulations are delayed, Marion County misses out on people who might have moved here.
Commissioner Bob Hein said he could go along with planning a hearing if Kaup were there.
Kaup joined the Monday meeting by teleconference call from Topeka.
Holub noted that it would be difficult to schedule a hearing under rules of legal notification until after July 4, although still in early July.
Eileen Sieger, Planning and Zoning chair, said her committee doesn’t traditionally meet in June to avoid conflicts with the wheat harvest.
Commissioners said they have one application to succeed Brazil plus two other persons have called for applications.
Kaup said “having panning staff,” an administrator, is not legally required to have a hearing, but it would be better to have that person “on board” to better understand the rules to be enforced under planning.
Hein said that if the commissioners hired somebody immediately, they probably still would have to give notice elsewhere, and make their move easily making it 60 days before they took office.
Dallke and Holub said they wanted to move faster than they have been able to in their first year and a half in office toward making small rural residential acreages available. They have established the minimum acreage required at three acres although rules vary on its location.
Dallke said he wanted to see 100 new homes on rural acreages before he left office.
Kaup also discussed rating low income housing somewhere between commercial and residential solid waste rates with the commissioners in the interest of lowering solid waste fees there.
Sales tax bill passes
County Clerk Carol Maggard said that Jonathan Small, an attorney in Topeka who has assisted the county in bond sales, reported that a bill has passed the Kansas Senate that includes allowance for Marion County to increase its sales tax rate. The increase was first asked for with possible construction of a new jail in mind.
Old trees spared
The two old Linden trees on the west side of the courthouse were spared on the recommendation of County Agent Rickey Roberts. The commissioners had been considering having them cut down because they overhang power lines, and the variety has some history of being weakened from hollows.
Roberts said the two trees obviously are healthy, and “considering all of the storms we’ve had in recent years” when they didn’t break, they can’t be very hollowed out.
“Besides, we can’t replace them in our lifetimes. They are grand old trees.”
Roberts recommended moving one of several young replacement trees by the lindens to the north end of the courthouse grounds because it is bending in response to shading from one linden.
He also recommended trimming the linden on the south to prevent it from shading another young tree. Other than that, he said the lindens could be trimmed away from power lines.