GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The Garden City commission met today to vote on rezoning a piece of land needed to build the new transload facility east of town.
In a special session, the commission voted four to zero, with one abstention, to re-zone land from agricultural to heavy industrial. That land will contain Garden’s new transload facility.
Despite concerns from nearby residents about the changes, mayor Chris Law said it’s currently zoned for such uses as a landfill or a sewage treatment facility.
“It still could be developed as something that wouldn’t be pleasing to the Towns Riverview community.”
Local residents have concerns about the facility’s proximity.
“A railroad spur is simply not appropriate so near a residential area, as Garden City’s own comprehensive plan specifically states on page sixteen,” said Lori Carter, who lives near the facility.
The 2009 city document she referenced is meant to serve as a guideline for the city’s growth.
It says, “Some uses are still inappropriate near residences. Active railroad and rail-related uses should provide a significant amount of natural or built buffer space from more pedestrian-oriented uses. Rail related uses are not compatible as adjacent uses for several reasons including noise, function, and the potential for fatal injury.”
Lona DuVall of Finney County Economic Development Corporation said, “We are sensitive to their needs, but we do feel like we’re following all of the processes as they’re set forth.”
City ordinance says they need to provide at least a five foot buffer between industrial and residential zones.
At its narrowest, the buffer is 80 feet, and it will include a line of trees to help block the view.
“The company has agreed to do more than what is required of them by those regulations,” said DuVall, “so I think they need to trust that they’re going to have a good neighbor there.”
Construction was already underway on parts of the facility that were already on industrial-zoned land. It’s expected to be complete by December 1.