May 4, 2021 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners, the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.
Also present were the following; Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Nancy Van Etten, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Mark McCoy, Michael Hoyt and Anne Dare.
Jim made a motion to approve the minutes from last week’s meeting, Clifton seconded and all approved and signed the minutes.
Eric Bailey presented an access entrance permit for Dakota Hall at 1068 230th, Lynne made a motion to approve the permit, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Eric presented a permit from CrawKan from 2020; he asked if the Commissioners wanted to approve it or not, he said it wasn’t signed off on at that time, he said that Justin Meeks had reviewed the permit. Justin said that CrawKan did authorize this last year, he said he thought the Commissioners should retro-actively sign this, Eric said that CrawKan is getting a new permit, Justin said that Craw-Kan did sign the permit so it is binding. Susan questioned if there was a bond for this work; Eric said there was supposed to have been; Jim said they never asked anyone for a bond and said this was never enforced. Justin said it is important to do these things in the future. Eric asked the Commissioners if they wanted to continue with the permitting process; Jim said yes.
Justin Meeks discussed the bridge that was shut down in 2012 at 35th & Yellowstone; he said the County doesn’t have band-aid money for the bridge. He said the bridge can’t handle weight and said there are 11 other bridges in the County like this. He said he, Shane Walker and Eric Bailey will meet with landowners near the bridge. Lynne later said one landowner owns both sides of the road by the bridge and said the landowner could petition to close the road.
Eric said a patron reached out to him asking to borrow a bump sign for a week; Justin said the County would like to loan items but doesn’t want to set a precedent on loaning items. He said the County could make and sell this person a sign but said he didn’t think the County should let anyone borrow items. All the Commissioners did not want to loan the sign out.
Eric said this year to date the County has billed $7,550.92 for permits (culverts, utility, oversized weight permits, etc.).
Eric said they did get gravel on the road at 120th & 3 Highway. He said they picked up brush and limbs at the Fort Scott Lake. They plan to do asphalt patching this week on 130th as well as near Elm Creek Lake. He said they have an ad in the paper for help wanted for the asphalt crew. Eric said the fence around the new cell tower should be done today.
Eric said they received the John Deere skid steer back and said most of the repairs were under warranty. He said the motor went out of the 1997 bridge truck and said he received an estimate of $16,736 to fix this; he said it was purchased for approximately $31,023. He found a truck in Jackson, Mississippi to pull the low boy trailer, but said the 2015 for $39,000 has high mileage. Eric said he has looked locally for a replacement, but hasn’t found one. Jim said the County may have to pay a little more to get one with less miles. Eric said the John Deere with the side arm mower is in the shop for repairs.
Eric said on Wednesday he will be going to Linn County to meet with Jackie Messer to review their County software and to discuss grants and training.
Jayhawk Wind update: Eric said they were going to finish capping the roads today, but said the rain has delayed this. Jim asked where they bought their rock from; Eric said he wasn’t sure.
Eric and Jim Harris will be attending a meeting on Thursday with T&C Wildlife about their road.
The Commissioners received a Real Property Relief Application for Douglas and Debra Biernacki at 2326 Jayhawk Road, the home was destroyed by a fire on 2/10/2021. Clifton made a motion to approve the application, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the application.
Jesse Pohlmann met with the Commissioners via telephone regarding a noise ordinance for a shooting range located west of 69 Highway on 54 Highway. He said he understood this was a business, but said they are shooting here later at night. Justin Meeks said there are civil remedies for this and said there could be criminal remedy. Justin said he hadn’t looked to see if the County had a sound ordinance. Justin said the City of Fort Scott has ordinances and said this would be located within three miles of the City. Lynne asked Justin to look at the noise side of this, Justin said he would consult Mr. Farmer about this. The Commissioners will discuss this again on May 18th.
The Commissioners took a 10-minute break.
Justin Meeks discussed the tax sale; he said the County is receiving return receipts back. He said some people on the tax sale list are wanting to make sure their back taxes are paid. He said homes are selling in Bourbon County so the title company is busy.
Justin said he went to Redfield to view the housing development there regarding septic tanks; he said a septic tank isn’t doable for 3 of the parcels, since the smallest parcel the County has granted a variance for is .85 of an acre and said some of these lots are smaller than this. Justin said he will contact the attorney for Redfield. Jim questioned if a lagoon would be possible for these landowners; Justin said lagoons have to be maintained.
Justin said previously the Commissioners went into an executive session for acquisition for real property; he said he is still in negotiations with an individual, but said he is still working on a multi-use parking lot.
Susan Bancroft said the 2020 audit is scheduled for the week of May 10th. She said once this is completed, they will start talking about the 2022 budget.
Public Comment: Nancy Van Etten a resident of 764 195th met with the Commissioners, she said the Commissioners have talked about having work sessions for bridges and roads and said they needed to let the public have input on these subjects. She asked for an update on the sewer district interlocal agreement; Justin said he talked to Mr. Farmer last week and said he is working on this, Justin said he could get an update from him this week. Nancy said others are wanting to build in the area and will need an answer on this issue. Nancy invited everyone to attend the National Day of Prayer on Thursday.
Michael Hoyt said he wanted to give a shout out to Clifton since he objected last week to having a consultant for insurance; he said we didn’t need a consultant to tell us what we should do or what we should’ve done, he said there are a lot of resources in the Community. He said he gave the Commissioners information about advisory boards and said anything he would do with this issue would involve the voters and said he would get the citizens involved.
Anne Dare said she was surprised they were going to discuss zoning today, since the date of May 10th had been put out to discuss this; she questioned if this discussion was put out to the public. Clifton said this wasn’t a one and done discussion for zoning, he said they are a Commission that doesn’t work that way and said they try to do their research. He said he didn’t know of a lot of spot decisions made in the past.
Commissioner Comment: Jim said the Commissioners voted last week to remove the mask mandate, but said people needed to wear masks inside at the Transfer Station since there is an employee there with health issues that can’t be vaccinated. Justin said if the employee has requested this, the County needed to accommodate the employee, Jim said the employee requested others in the building wear a mask, Justin said the County can request this, but said the problem is enforcing this. Clifton suggested putting a sign up that said due to medical reasons, please wear a mask, Justin said this was reasonable. Eric Bailey said there was no reason anyone else needed to enter the building.
Lynne announced that the new Economic Development Director @ BWERKS would start May 10th and would be located on the 2nd floor at the Landmark Bank.
Jim said a citizen called him and wanted to meet; he said he would meet with this person, but would not be meeting as a Commissioner.
County zoning discussion: Lynne had previously asked Justin to look at zoning. Justin gave the Commissioner information regarding land use and development from the KAC website; he also gave them statutes to review (he said KSA 12-755, KSA 12-558, KSA 12-553-558 addresses zoning). Justin said implementing zoning is not an easy process. Justin said zoning is about land use, but said they can’t limit agricultural use. He said in order to get zoning started they could have a planning commission, could put the issue on the ballot or the Commissioners could implement zoning in the County. He said there are already Federal laws in place that limit some issues, (F.A.A., hog farming, rock quarries, etc.). Justin said there are both advantages and disadvantages to zoning. He said some people have moved to this County because we aren’t zoned and they want to use their properties as they see fit. He said code issues are different than zoning issues and said religion could become a part of zoning in Bourbon County. He said the flood plain issue controls a large portion of our County and said people have to have permits to build in a flood plain; Michael Hoyt said there are remedies for building in a flood plain. Justin said there is a fine line between growth and limiting it from happening. Clifton said he didn’t feel it was his responsibility to tell someone how to build a house. Jim Harris said codes are for people’s protection, but said they are very hard to enforce. Hoyt questioned if the ADM pipeline to the water treatment plant was permitted; Justin said he wasn’t sure, he said this was before his time and across the State line. Jim said he would be surprised if residents would want County-wide zoning, he said his goal as a Commissioner is that he wants people to fill out a special use permit so that the Commissioners can review the permits. Jim said that Lynne previously said the Commissioners couldn’t stop the windfarm if they wanted to, Justin said they couldn’t because the County wasn’t zoned. Justin said some things at the Windfarm were controlled by the next step up, (animals, F.A.A.), he said they have created some defacto zoning for the windfarm with setbacks. Lynne asked if we were going to target one industry, Justin said possibly yes and possibly no. Jim said none of them wanted to tell someone what to do with their property. Lynne said without the intervention of the public on the Windfarms we wouldn’t have gotten the contract we did. Justin said there was no way to stop an individual who signed a contract from building a structure on their property. Jim said his goal is to have an advisory committee and not just for windfarms, he said we needed to develop guidelines. Lora Holdridge said she grew up in the Country, but now lives in the City, she said she didn’t think they should be able to tell people living in the County what to do; she said the County needed to let every Bourbon County citizen know this discussion was going on. Justin said this is just a starting point and an open discussion. Jim said his goal is to make sure a tower isn’t built too close to a house. Justin said the southwest part of the County has restricted use regarding towers. Lynne said when they said they couldn’t stop the windfarm, they couldn’t stop it; Anne Dare questioned where is the line? She said we have got to look forward and said otherwise the Federal government will tell us what we are going to do with our own land. Justin said the next step is to have public hearings or to review statutes. Justin said local government can’t supersede a Federal statute. Clifton said he felt they needed to involve the public in this matter.
Lynne said they needed to have work sessions for hard surface roads, Jim said the County needed to plan for the future and for future expenses.
At 11:34, Jim made a motion to adjourn, Clifton seconded and all approved.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman
(ss) Jim Harris, Commissioner
(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner
Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk
May 11, 2021, Approved Date