RDA monthly meeting places focus on Plan ELC impact to industrial development Friday

RDA monthly meeting places focus on Plan ELC impact to industrial development Friday KVOE File Photo

The Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas discussed several concerns regarding the impacts of the new Emporia Lyon County Regulatory Plan on industrial development in Emporia during their monthly meeting Friday morning.

According to RDA President Kent Heerman, a major concern for the RDA is the limitations brought on by the new plan. He tells KVOE News the plan would change the zoning designation of Industrial Park IV from light industrial to industrial flex.

Heerman says this will be "problematic" as the new designation brings with it numerous restrictions and limitations for industrial development within the over 150-mile area. This includes parking regulations, height restrictions for buildings and restrictions on attachments such as tanks and equipment for buildings.

These restrictions differ greatly from those at Industrial Park III and will greatly limit the potential to develop Park IV and keep Emporia industrially competitive with other communities. During Friday's RDA meeting Heerman and RDA members compiled a series of comments and thoughts which Heerman says they plan to deliver to Lyon County Zoning and Flood Plain Manager Sam Seeley and City of Emporia Zoning Administrator Joe Foster.

Heerman is hopeful this action will help to bring some changes to the proposed plan which will help Emporia continue to be competitive.

In other business, the RDA continued discussions on the Price tract which has become a hot topic of conversation as it pertains to development locally. As recently reported by KVOE, landowners Janice and Lex Price have submitted an application for a zoning change for property located in the 1500 block of Road 200 from agriculture to heavy industrial.

This would allow the land to be developed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad as a part certified railroad program leading to an opportunity for significant economic development. The request has now gone before the Lyon County Planning and Zoning Board after Lyon County Commissioners required further information before approving the change.

The site is considered as desirable by the railroad because of its proximity to the rail and available power nearby. Residents nearby, however, expect increased traffic and believe such a move amounts to spot zoning with no guarantee of what may be the next use of the property.

Both the RDA and Emporia Enterprises have previously attempted to bring two other developments -- a Menards distribution facility and Nucor steel plant -- to the same area within the past decade, however, neither project moved forward. The Lyon County Commission is set to review the request in the coming weeks after gaining it's second approval by the planning and zoning board Wednesday.

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