Planning Commission Reviews Junk Ordinance



The Prowers County Planning Commission, Michelle Hiigel, Land Use Administrator, as well as all three county commissioners, Tom Grasmick, Wendy Buxton-Andrade, Ron Cook and County Attorney Rose Pugliese via Zoom, discussed means by which the county’s junk ordinance could be beefed up with stricter enforcement.  Legislating the ordinance has been a continued concern for years as some areas of the county have seen more use as open dumping grounds.

Pugliese said she and Hiigel are working to balance property rights for landowners as they study remedies for enforcement for non-compliance regarding public health, safety and welfare. “We also want to give landowners a proper amount of time to respond to our findings before we have to seek a legal remedy,” she explained during the Commission’s monthly meeting on March 9th.

A question on the status of mobile homes in the county was discussed, particularly the age of a mobile home that is being moved into the county to be used as a residence or from one site to another while already in the county.  There is no state law regulating the action, but after some discussion, the Planning Board decided that January 1, 1980 would be a cut-off date which affords a level of unity for other communities in the county.  Pugliese added, “Any complaint against a mobile home will have to be complaint-driven.  Michelle is not going to be driving around the county, looking for homes that are suspected of non-compliance for health issues.”  She added that any determination by the county will be made based on an in-person viewing and assessment of all the factors involved.

Dealing with junkyards, specifically for vehicles that line the entry routes into the county have been an unresolved concern for numerous years.  Some operations claim to be a body shop, arguing that all the vehicles on a lot are necessary to conduct business.  Pugliese said if that’s the case, they should be able to offer proof when they file with the state for their commercial operation and registration forms with the Secretary of State’s office for their sales tax.

All that aside, there’s still the matter of what they look like along the highway.  Some vehicles are situated in a row while others appear scattered at random on a property.  The county is setting aside funding to help defray the costs of erecting screens to block the view, while some property owners are saying that just prevents a potential customer from viewing their merchandise.  Commissioner Buxton-Andrade suggested the screens could have advertising signage incorporated onto the wall.  Feedback from the business owners would be useful she added.

Discussion on recreational vehicle parking regulations focused on language defining an RV park versus an RV site.  Current county regulations cover a site, but it was suggested that you need to have the park before you have a site.  Planning Commission board member, Jim Larrick, said he had talked to some ag land owners that are being approached to allow ten spots for RVs for workers moving to the county for future wind turbine projects in the area.  Larrick said this could develop into a longterm residency, not just for a few months. Member Chad Hart looked at what could be future RV use on ag-oriented land for tourist-based visits.  “We’re going to see situations develop where RV campers may want to park on farm or ranch land for a visit to the operation,” he said this kind of visit is expected to increase.  The Commission will review the aspects for the development as either a tourism venue or permanent residency.

In other action, the Planning Commission tabled action on the re-organization of the board until their April meeting when all members are present.  Belinda Sturges is replacing Clifford Boxley as a new member.

The board approved subdivision plat requests for Eric Ellenberger, Harold and Nikki Reed and Nicholas and Tylynn Weber.  Mark Carrigan, representing S-D Farms, LLC, was asked to submit an application to match his request to alter two subdivided plats into three.
By Russ Baldwin





Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCountyEnvironmentFeaturedHealthPublic SafetyRecreationTourismUtilities


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