County Commission 2/25/21

The Lyon County Commission voted to approve a conditional use permit for the installation of two limestone quarries south of Hartford Thursday morning.

The two tracts — a 114-acre tract in the 700 block of Road Y and an 80-acre tract in the 600 block of Road Y — are zoned for agricultural use, but the conditional use permit (CUP) would allow the land to be used for limestone extraction by Eagle Creek Stone, LLC.

Lyon County Planning and Zoning Director Sam Seeley said that the project had been unanimously approved for recommendation by the zoning board and that it had taken steps to address public concerns, such as flyrock prevention and cleanup, dust suppression, water quality and pollution protection.

“One of the conditions of the recommendation was to make sure that all those were filled before they began their project,” Seeley said. “So once we have all that, that would release their requirements to them.”

Seeley assured the Commission that those who live in the area can expect the project to be audited to ensure that everything is being addressed appropriately to minimize disruption.

“Myself or [Lyon County Engineer Chip Woods] can inspect the property any time to make sure the requirements are being met for this, so if dust does become an issue and they’re not taking care of it, we can go out there and talk to make sure it gets taken care of,” Seeley said.

Because the tracts will be allowed to be used for an alternative purpose rather than being re-zoned, once the limestone extraction project is complete, the reclamation plan will allow the land to be reused later on for agricultural purposes.

Ryan Janzen, the Lyon County Appraiser, presented the Lyon County 2021 Valuation Trends report to the Commission, as his office has finished the annual revaluation of all real estate property in the county for the 2021 tax year.

“Those valuations will be mailed out on March 1st, or next Monday, is when those letters will hit the mail, so people will probably start to receive them sometime middle of next week,” Janzen said. “That information will also be available on our website at that time as well. If they look that up, they can see what their new valuation is going to be for the 2021 tax year.”

The valuation index for specific properties, along with a newsletter clearly explaining the process the Appraiser’s Office has just completed, can be accessed at https://lyoncounty.org/index/government/departments/appraiser.

Janzen told the Commission that there were just as many residential sales in 2020 as there were in 2019, but that the median sale price had increased from $115,000 to $130,000. Overall, the inflationary trend in Lyon County was 5.1% for residential properties.

“This is a combination of low interest rates and supply and demand issues that we seem to be having in Emporia and Lyon County, so all those things are driving those values up,” Janzen said.

Commercial properties saw an overall inflationary trend of 2% in 2020, with 60 percent of commercial and apartment properties experiencing a valuation increase. Meanwhile, 30% of commercial properties saw a reduction in value.

“The pandemic did affect some of certain industries harder than others,” Janzen said. “Our hotel industry was probably hit the hardest, along with our entertainment-types, so theaters, bowling alleys, those sorts of things. Those are some of the things that saw the biggest impact and those are the ones that are going to probably recognize the biggest reduction in value.”

Janzen clarified that the Appraiser’s Office does not determine the valuation of a property, but only analyzes it based upon market activity.

“Our office only interprets what the market is doing,” he said. “We don’t set or establish the market. We just interpret what it’s saying. If values are going up, it’s because buyers and sellers are paying more or spending more to purchase a property.”

Property owners who wish to appeal their valuation numbers can do so by contacting the Appraiser’s Office to schedule an appeal date. The deadline for doing so is March 30.

The commission also:

F Renewed the Community Corrections agreement with Casey Family Programs to provide therapeutic services for those on probation for 2021.

F Tabled a discussion regarding 19 changes to the text of the Emporia and Lyon County Joint Comprehensive Plan for two weeks.

F Signed the 2022 Noxious Weed Annual Management Plan and the 2020 Annual Noxious Weed Report, both of which will then be sent to the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

F Heard a public health report from Lyon County Public Health Director Renee Hively and Lyon County Public Health Officer Dr. Ladun Oyenuga. They reported that vaccination clinics continue to go smoothly and that they would soon transition from the Bowyer Building to the Anderson Building for more space.

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