Garden City addresses zoning issues

GARDEN CITY, Kansas– The African Shop opened on West Mary Street in March.  The owner said he was open for two weeks when the city came to the shop and told him he had ten days to move his business.

The problem?  His retail store, and four others, including the Finney County Health Department, are in an area zoned for industrial use only.

The health Department will be grandfathered in since it opened there before the area was zoned, but the African Shop and the other businesses had no idea they weren’t compliant.

“Finney County and Garden City currently do not have anything in place for [businesses] to come and check before they move into a building,” said Finney County Economic Development President Lona DuVall.

One of the issues with retail shops setting up in an industrial zone is the customers they bring with them.  It can be difficult enough for big shipping trucks to maneuver through small streets, and that becomes even harder when you have increased traffic.

After working with the city, The African Shop was allowed to stay at its current location, but the issue hasn’t been resolved.

The city and county are trying to decide on whether or not to grant the businesses Conditional Use Permits, so they can stay where they are.

Garden City’s Planning and Development Department is working on a long-term solution.  A cheap and easy application process that would be reviewed by the zoning commission before businesses were allowed to open.

“We just think if we could do that up front we could save those businesses some heart ache,” DuVall said.

In the meantime, stores affected plan on running business as usual.

The Planning and Development Committee met on Thursday afternoon, but any proposal they come up with must be approved by the city and county.

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