The County Environmental Awareness Coalition (ECEAC) is pleased with the outcome of the Ellis County commission vote denying the conditional use permit to place a massive industrial development outside the most populous area of Northwest Kansas.
This industrial project has been marred by an apparent manipulation of the political process and the developer’s failure to work with the entire community from the outset. Unfortunately, our community has been deeply wounded by the division resulting from the poor planning and execution of this proposal.
The ECEAC has been concerned that this development was put into motion years before it came into the public forum. We were saddened by the vote of Commissioners Berens and Pfannenstiel as it appears as though they had been biased in favor of the development before hearing the concerns of the community regarding the location of this project. Their vote today only confirms their position in 2005 when they signed a letter of support in favor of this development without the benefit of any independent studies to determine the truth of the many questions in a development of this magnitude.
Throughout this application process, it has become apparent that the Ellis County zoning regulations are severely lacking in content to protect the community from ill sited developments of this kind. Furthermore, the application process itself needs to be revisited as this development failed to follow the process appropriately. As past behavior is most often the best predictor of future behavior, we are also concerned that the developer will continue their attempts to manipulate the zoning process in the effort to foist this poorly sited development on the community.
We sincerely hope the developers do not attempt to circumvent the due process rights of the individuals in the project area by merely redefining the project boundaries in order to avoid the protest petition, and reapply for a permit of the same location. This project area has been denied and should rightfully be abandoned in favor of one more appropriately sited.
Ellis County must now look forward to fix the problems that came to light in this process. This commission must begin by establishing a comprehensive land use plan to insure appropriate placement of developments. They must also appoint an independent committee to revisit and rewrite zoning regulations appropriate to protect Ellis County. We hope to be included in this process and would offer our support to the commission.
The Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition is a group of concerned citizens dedicated to preserving all aspects of the natural rural environment of Ellis County, Kansas.
Press Release: 09-04-07