The Planning and Appeals board discusses changes to the language of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Wednesday evening.

The Lyon County Planning and Appeals Board reviewed text changes to the upcoming Joint Comprehensive Plan during a regularly-scheduled meeting Wednesday evening at the Bowyer Community Building.

In Nov. 2017, Lyon County and City of Emporia officials completed and unanimously adopted a joint zoning regulations draft known as PlanELC. Since then, both have been working to update their zoning regulations for its support and implementation.

Wednesday, board members unanimously agreed to alter language allowing for development of parcels “not less than five acres for a single-family residence in an agricultural district to a density of no more than 16 residences per square mile.” The previous requirement made no mention of population density, referring instead to 40-acre minimums for residential developments on private irrigated, non-irrigated and range agricultural zones outside the city limits.

Lyon County Planning and Zoning Director Sam Seeley said the legality of the change would still have to be reviewed and approved at a later date, but hoped the new language would eventually allow for more opportunity for county residents.

“It’s usually been considered that if someone has 40 or more acres, it’s considered agricultural and we don’t touch it,” Seeley said. “If it’s less than 40 acres, we regulate it more with a residential type view … Other counties have done larger lots even, and it’s just really restrictive. Ultimately, it comes down to what everyone thinks is the best way to preserve agricultural land, and that’s how it got to this point.

“The Comprehensive Plan isn’t the regulations. It’s more philosophical. When we do our agricultural workshop, I hope to have more information to kind of nail down the sound reasoning of what we’re going to implement as a regulation.”

Seeley and City of Emporia Planning and Zoning Director Joe Foster will be hosting a series of workshops throughout November to get area residents up to speed with any additions or changes to zoning regulations. Attendance is encouraged as community comments will be taken into consideration in the construction of the final draft of the Joint Comprehensive Plan. The first workshop — set to cover agricultural topics — will be held from 6 - 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Lyon County Annex, 402 Commercial St.

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