Residents, officials clash over transload facility

Residents voiced their concerns today
Residents voiced their concerns today

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Garden City’s transload facility is the focus of criticism from nearby residents.

They’re concerned about how their neighborhood will be impacted by the facility and how the city’s handled the process.

“This is the first we heard as to them rezoning this area and that it would be heavy industrial next to our residential,” said resident Dawn Schultz.

The city says they’ve been transparent through the entire process.

“It’s been something that’s been discussed, published, talked about for months about where it’s going to be and where it’s going to go,” said Kaleb Kentner with Garden City’s Neighborhood and Community Design department.

At issue is a segment of land that was voted on today. The zoning commission voted unanimously to recommend it be zoned for industrial use.

Residents say they thought they would continue to live next to agricultural land, but the city says residents were notified of the proposed changes.

“State statute requires that there is public notice be given to all surrounding property owners,” said Kentner, “which is a 20 day process to give those notices.”

“We’re concerned about many things,” said Schultz. “Safety, noise pollution, light pollution, air pollution. There’s dust continuously blowing into our faces and our homes right now.”

Officials say because of space issues, the disputed area is the only space where a new rail line can go in.

“The zoning codes are written to allow I-3 heavy industrial areas to be adjacent to residential,” said Lona DuVall with the Finney County Economic Development Corporation. “It just requires there be that buffer zone.”

Duvall says the zone meets those requirements, and TP&L will be putting in a fence and a row of trees, but that may not satisfy residents.

“There are 14 children under the age of 10 living on Randy Lane alone, which is the road that most directly is exactly, directly across from the proposed site,” said resident Lori Carter.

Residents can petition the city commission to reject the zoning commission’s recommendation.

Officials say if the zoning changes, the entire transload project will fall through, because there would be nowhere else to lay the train tracks.