Hillsboro council OKs zoning change for sporting goods

Upon the recommendation of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, the Hillsboro City council approved an ordinance at its Jan. 24 special meeting that would allow a sporting goods and gun sales business within Hillsboro Heights or Hillsboro Business Park.

City Administrator Larry Paine said Clint Seibel, the city’s economic director, has been working with a client who is looking at property within those two developments for a business that would focus Marion Reservoir traffic driving by on U.S. Highway 56.

“Currently, the Highway Service zoning district does not have an approved use that would cover sporting goods and gun sales,” Paine said. “All our commercial zoning districts except Highway Service allow sporting goods and gun sales.”

The ordinance was approved after a brief discussion.

Recommendation revised

The council unanimously agreed to nullify a change the Planning and Zoning was recommending regarding how to measure a side-yard setback line for residential yards.

The original ordinance called for the setback to be measured from the lot line to the foundation line of the building. The board was recommen­ding that the measurement be made from the lot line to “the nearest architectural projection,” which could be the roof line, an awning or a lamp that extends beyond the foundation line.

On hand for the discussion was Hillsboro resident Darrell Driggers, who said the effect of the revised ordinance would either further limit the size of the house that could be built on a given lot, or cause a developer to lose lots by having to make the lots larger to accommodate the desired size of the new house.

Paine agreed.

“For new construction, this would limit the size of a home beyond what other homes in the neighborhood currently enjoy,” he said.

Beyond that issue, the council expressed concern that the revised ordinance was setting a time-based dividing line between lots established prior to Dec. 29, 2011, and lots established after that date.

Mayor Delores Dalke and Councilor Marlene Fast, both with real estate experience, said having different requirements for different situations would cause “a lot of confusion.”

In the end the council agreed to keep the ordinance essentially in its original form. Setbacks will be measured from the lot line to the foundation.

Additional leasing

The council authorized the signing of an oil and gas lease for 19 more acres of city-owned ground.

Chaz Doffing, land-leasing agent with J. Fred Hambright Inc. of Wichita, said the addition would unify the acreage in the area of interest and make it easier to access potential oil for adjoining landowners once drilling begins.

The terms of the new lease are essentially the same as the for the lease approved a few months ago for city-owned property adjacent to the sewer lagoons. The lease is for three years with an option to extend the lease for three more years.

The additional 19 acres, located one mile north of town, are used by the city as a burn site and as a disposal area for concrete.

Reactivated advisory board

The council approved several board appointments requested by the mayor. Dalke said she intended to reactive the former Hillsboro Museums Advisory Board for the purpose of developing a management plan for the city’s museums.

The museums, which included the Mennonite Settlement Museum and the Schaeffler House, have been mostly inactive for more than a year after the city eliminated funding for staffing.

Dalke asked the council to approve the following members to the board: Aleen Ratzlaff and Mary Regier for three-year terms, Tim Unruh, Dan Dalke and Anita Boese for two-year terms and David Brown and Willie Ensz for one-year terms.

The council also approved Dalke’s recommendation to reappoint Warren Priel to another term on the Hillsboro Tree Board and to appoint Lola Unruh to a first term.

Pay estimates

The council approved pay estimates of $71,910 to Reynolds Inliner and $61,941 to Wildcat construction for work completed on the final portion of the city’s sewer improvement project. The two projects involved putting cured-in-place liner inside existing sewer pipes as well as repairing pump stations.

The expenditure for all components of the sewer-improvement project, which included the creation of sewer lagoons east of town, was about $5.3 million; $750,000 of the expense was paid with grant funding.

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