County news

The Dickinson County Commission approved a conditional use permit (CUP), allowing the construction of duplexes at 1974 Hawk Road, the same property where the Brown Memorial Home for the Aged is located.

Building permits were issued for two duplexes last year and they have already been built. Now the Brown Memorial Foundation is planning to build two more.

“Our code requires a CUP for a new duplex going in, but because where those particular units are going, there’s already a multi-unit facility on that property that’s been there for years,” explained Dickinson County Planning and Zoning Director Tim Hamilton.

The duplexes were considered “accessory” to the principal use of the property — which is a housing facility for senior citizens.

“What we’ve done with other types of residential subdivisions is traffic count based on the number of units being considered. In this case, for duplexes, it’s the same as single-family homes for the amount of traffic — two vehicles per unit or per lot,” Hamilton said.

With the building of additional duplexes, that would mean additional vehicles.

“Once you get to about 12 additional cars or vehicles in a property or subdivision, that might trigger a public hearing that requires the planning commission to see if an additional traffic study has to be done,” he said.

However, since the property is a home for senior citizens, Hamilton said it will not have the traffic usually associated with a traditional subdivision. He suggested eliminating the traffic study as a condition of approval for the CUP, but if the foundation decides to build more duplexes, a traffic study may be triggered.

“The fact that it’s more of a care facility for the aged, you’re not going to have people going in and out at 7 (a.m.) and 5 (p.m.) everyday into and onto the property,” he said.

Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson questioned whether neighbors had been property notified so they are aware of the development. Hamilton said they had and it had been published in the Reflector-Chronicle.

Commissioners approved the conditional use permit with the following conditions:

• No further building permits will be issued beyond the single duplex structure currently applied for until a full site plan is submitted for staff review along with a drainage study;

• All units must be arranged and located on the parcel so that an adequate address consistent with the requirements of Dickinson County and 911 Dispatch can be assigned;

• Environmental Services or KDHE must verify capacity of the current sewer system for additional units.

Hamilton said a drainage plan has been submitted and Phil Mulanax, president of the Brown Memorial Foundation, has been working with him and the county’s GIS department to ensure the addressing requirement is met. (Last week, commissioners approved the naming of three roads to serve the new duplexes: Hazel Lane, Henry Lane and 1974 Lane.)

Speed limit reduced

The commission approved reducing the speed limit in the 1900 Avenue of Hawk Road from 55 to 40 mph.

County Administrator Brad Homman said the county has received concerns and calls about traffic due to new housing in the area built in recent years as well as the Brown Foundation development.

Homman said he and Road and Bridge Supervisor Martin Tannahill drove the road and said it makes total sense to reduce the speed limit “to improve the safety factor for people in the area.”

Other matters

Homman told commissioners that utility work is still “plugging along” in preparation for the new jail building project. Today or Tuesday plans are to switch off the old electric power lines to a new underground power source.

Power will be shut off at the courthouse after business hours on the designated day and employees will be notified so everything can be shut down.

“There is a jury trial scheduled for Monday and Tuesday and we’ll need to coordinate around that so we don’t shut the power off at 5:30 in the middle of a jury trial that’s gone over (after 5 p.m.),” Homman said.

He also reported a fish passage bridge on Oat Road south of Hope had been completed.

Also, the commission:

• Accepted the resignation of Larry Miller as Newbern Township Treasurer and appointed Dee Greenough to replace him;

• Appointed Commissioner Craig Chamberlin to be the county’s voting delegate at an upcoming KCAMP (Kansas Counties Association Multi-line Pool) conference. Peterson will be alternate;

• Proclaimed Oct. 6-12 as Dickinson County 4-H Week;

• Heard from Roller that the North Central Regional Juvenile Detention facility in Geary County was becoming full. That could potentially be a problem for Dickinson County.

Roller said that a recently passed Senate Bill was supposed to reduce the number of occupants in the facility, but it had the opposite effect and numbers were increasing.

“It’s going to be of interest to Dickinson County. What will we do if we can’t send juveniles to that detention center?” he asked. “Financially, they are doing well, but unfortunately, we don’t like to hear that because that means people are using it. We’d like to see people be more productive than sitting in jail.”

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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