Planning commission prepares to consider plan for concrete plant
Tonganoxie planning commissioners thought last week that they limited the height of both buildings and towers that can be constructed in the light industrial zoning district.
Apparently, they were mistaken.
At their meeting last Wednesday, planning commissioners changed the light industrial zoning regulations to prohibit buildings higher than 50 feet. Commissioners thought the change covered towers, too.
"I believe that's what they thought they were doing, that they would have some control on towers," said Linda Zacher, city planner.
But according to Zacher, another part of the city's zoning regulations says that towers are allowed at any height that is "safe and legal."
That means that the change the planning commission made last week would not prohibit towers higher than 50 feet.
However, the city does have a mechanism in place to restrict towers for concrete batching plants.
This is important because Meier Ready Mix has submitted a site plan to the city that calls for a 40-foot-tall concrete batching plant with a 55-foot tower.
"That means he can put in his tower as high as he wants, unless we limit it somehow else," Zacher said this week.
But because Meier must obtain a special-use permit to construct a batching plant in Tonganoxie, the commission could apply height requirements to the permit.
"We could put restrictions on towers that way," Zacher said. "That would be one way that they could control the height of the tower."
Zacher said she found the reference to towers after last Wednesday's planning commission meeting when she was researching another zoning matter.
The Topeka-based Meier Ready Mix plans to build a concrete batching plant on 6.4 acres along the west side of County Road 5, just south of U.S. Highway 24-40. The site plan calls for a 14,000-square-foot building.
The planning commission will conduct a public hearing on the permit at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Zacher said she has several concerns about the plant.
Because all but a small portion of the property is in floodplain, she said, the effect of building must be carefully analyzed, both in terms of nearby property and land downstream. In addition, she said it's unlikely that the street running in front of the proposed plant can support heavy truck traffic and so it would have to be improved.
"Probably, most of the responsibility for that would have to go onto Meier," she said.
Zacher believes a study should be conducted to determine the effect the plant would have on local traffic.
At its meeting last week, the planning commission approved, on a 4-2 vote, changes to the city's light industrial district, which allows concrete batching plants. Planning commissioners Greg Ward and Diane Bretthauer voted against changes.
The commission agreed to:
Increase the building height from two stories to three stories and the height of the buildings from 35 feet to 50 feet.
Increase the minimum lot size from 10,000 square feet to 1.25 acres.
In addition, planning commissioners added a stipulation that the city could require additional frontage on buildings taller than 35 feet. The regulations require front setbacks of 50 feet.
Planning commissioners also approved the final plat for South Park Addition No. 2, on the city's east side, south of 24-40 Highway. Bretthauer abstained on the 5-0 vote because her brother is a principal in the project.
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