The Pottawatomie County Commissioners will hold a special meeting on April 2 to discuss opting out of an anticipated renewal of the state-wide mask mandate.
County Counselor John Watt told commissioners Monday Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to renew the current mandate on April 1 and if the county doesn’t opt out, it will be required to follow the state’s guidelines.
Watt added commissioners have the ability to override the governor’s orders and mandates regarding COVID, but in order to do so commissioners will have to consult with health professionals, and they must have a basis for overriding it.
“I’d like to say get it ready, speaking for myself I will have no troubles opting out,” Commission Chairman Greg Riat said.
As there are a few days between the anticipated renewal and the regular Monday meeting, the commissioners scheduled the special meeting for Friday.
The meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the EMS building, 406 Miller Drive, Wamego.
Building permit request
Commissioners approved a building permit request for a property in the western part of the county for agricultural use.
“The applicant has a plan for the development of the property for agricultural proposes, developed in conjunction with K-State,” Watt said.
To comply with the agricultural designation, livestock has been placed on the property.
Watt said that he had provided the applicant with an affidavit indicating that he would abide by the agricultural plan and requested that he sign it.
“He came back and expressed concern with the future, if the agricultural situation changed in the future,” Watt said, adding that the property owner would like to put a 20-year time limit for the agricultural use in the affidavit.
Watt explained that he didn’t have any objections with adding the time limit, but wanted to make sure that commissioners didn’t have any concerns.
Riat voiced that he was not in favor of adding the time limit to the affidavit. “We’re making a rule now,” Riat said. “If it’s for agriculture, if he wants to do it, he can do it.”
Commissioner Dee McKee asked if the property owner were to sell the property before the time limit was up, if it remains an agricultural piece of land.
“If he sells it, the reality is, there is no good way for you to enforce it,” Watt explained. “It would just be sold. The buyer is not required to continue agricultural use.”
Commissioner Pat Weixelman made a motion to approve the affidavit as is with the 20-year limitation.
The motion passed 2-1, with Riat opposed.
The county’s Treasurer’s Office will be closed from 8 a.m. — 9 a.m. on April 8 for a follow up to the compliance audit.
The county approved a zoning request for a tract of land in Emmett Township, located a half a mile west on Highway 63 on the northside of Crystal Springs Road.
The new zoning will change the property from A1 (Ag Residential) to AR (Agriculture/Residential), and will allow for a third house to be placed on the property.
Commissioners held public hearings for the Whispering Meadows Subdivision Water, Sanitary and Street projects that will take place over the 32 lots.
The street projects will consist of improvements to Jasmine Drive, Goldenrod Terrace, Aster Lane, Wisteria Way and Snapdragon Drive.
The water projects will include the installation of approximately 2,440 linear feet of PVC water pipe to serve the lots and properties within the subdivision.
The total estimated cost for all three projects is $1,464,616, bringing the estimated total per lot to $45,769,24.
As there were no comments from the public, resolutions will be presented to commissioners at the next meeting.
Pedestrian bridge sidewalk
Commissioners discussed an $11,000 projected increase to the cost of the Green Valley Pedestrian Bridge Sidewalk Project.
The project will cost a total of $704,000.
A grant from Federal Transportation Alternatives will fund $539,200 of the total cost.
The county and Blue Township will split the responsibility for the remaining $164,800 evenly.