Building codes for the southwestern portion of Pottawatomie County are expected to be in place effective Jan. 1.
The Pott County Commission Monday reviewed a proposed resolution enacting building codes for the rapidly-growing Blue Township Sewer District, as well as an agreement with the city of Manhattan to provide inspection services for those codes.
The proposed resolution dovetails with recently updated Manhattan codes, identifying 2018 international standards for building, electrical, plumbing, fuel gas, mechanical, residential and fire.
Under the agreement, the city of Manhattan will perform the codes inspections and collect the fees. Pott County will be responsible for enforcement of any code violations, according to County Counselor John Watt.
“The process makes sense to me to have the city of Manhattan doing that (inspection), so you are not establishing a bureaucracy with staff, and I have seen no desire from the county commission to have countywide building codes,” Watt told commissioners.
“The cost to the county is lowered substantially by going this route,” Watt said. “As of Jan. 1, hopefully we’re going to have a seamless transition into a new codes process.”
Watt and other county officials have been collaborating on the process with Manhattan officials for about a year.
Brad Claussen, Manhattan code and fire services, and Brad Hartenstein of the Flint Hills Area Builders Association, with more than 200 members in a six-county area, also attended Monday’s meeting.
Officials said initiating the building codes process six months before the proposed implementation allows all stakeholders time to prepare for the transition — from city inspectors to contractors who may need to acquire proper licensing.
The process continues next month when Peter Clark, Pott County public works director, begins gathering public input on the proposed codes by meeting with various groups, including the public-at-large.
The commission scheduled a required public hearing on the proposed resolution for 10 a.m. Sept. 9 after which it is expected to act on the resolution.
“I think it’s a process that’s definitely needed,” said Commissioner Pat Weixelman. “There are going to be some hiccups, but I think it’ll be a smooth transition.”
“I appreciate the work that everyone’s done,” said Commissioner Dee McKee via telephone. “I think it’s moving in the right direction.”
In other business Monday:
• Clark said the design of improvements to Dyer Road are 90% complete, and construction could begin late this year, depending on approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Dyer Road runs south from Kansas Highway 13 across Tuttle Creek Lake Dam, east of the River Pond Area and Rocky Ford.
Improvements are to include adding shoulders, improving the sight distance at one point, and adding a pedestrian crosswalk, according to Clark.
Although it wasn’t designated as an official detour, traffic along Dyer Road almost doubled over recent months while improvements to K-13 over the Tuttle Creek spillway were underway.
Noting the increased traffic — including heavy trucks — Commission Chair Travis Altenhofen questioned if the county should seek financial assistance from the Corps for the Dyer Road improvements.
• Health Director Lisa Kenworthy reported that services provided and clients served by her department increased this fiscal year. State grants awarded for fiscal year 2020, however, were down slightly from the current fiscal year.
• Robert Reece, county administrator, said he is finalizing the budget document for fiscal year 2020, and hopes to have a proposed general fund budget for the commission’s consideration at the Monday meeting.
• Larry Sharp, representing KCAMP (Kansas County Association Multilane Pool), gave an annual review of the county’s property, casualty and liability insurance.
KCAMP insures 74 counties in Kansas, Sharp said.
• The commission set a public hearing for 10 a.m. July 29 to consider vacating Cedar Bluff Road near Havensville.
Area landowners have petitioned for the roadway vacation. The road extends into Jackson County, whose commissioners are also considering similar action, according to John Keller, county planner.