Wayne White | Managing Editor

LYNDON—The proposed construction of wetlands near Burlingame could become bogged down in a conflict between the federal government and county regulations unless the property owner applies for county land use permits, the Osage County Commission heard Monday.

Sheila Dale, Osage County land use coordinator and floodplain manager, reported to commissioners that she had been notified of a plan to develop wetlands on land owned by Dennis Reamer. The proposed two-pool wetland is to be located east of Dragoon Creek, northeast of the intersection of Hoch Road and 189th Street, approximately 1.5 miles southwest of Burlingame.

Dale presented information to the commissioners showing the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources approved the Natural Resources Conservation Service wetland reserve program project in February.

“But they didn’t get any types of (county) permits, imagine that,” Dale said.

She said she had contacted Lynn Thurlow, a NRCS soil conservationist, and was told the NRCS did not need county permits for the project and that the agency is not required to submit the project’s plans to the county.

Dale said her main concern about the project is its possible effect on the designated flood plain. She said that due to the county’s inclusion in the National Flood Insurance Program, the county must comply with federal guidelines requiring all projects in a flood plain to be locally reviewed and permitted.

“If they do not have all the proper permits, we can be fined for it,” Dale said. “We’ve got to have documentation to keep us out of trouble with the federal government according to the flood program.”

She said she had contacted several state agencies about the county’s authority to review the plans.

“Everybody I talked to – I do have the right to have the plans so I can make for sure it’s not going to encroach on anybody else,” Dale said. “If they’re bringing in fill … it could affect the flood zone and it could affect the map.”

“Just because they’re a federal agency does not mean they don’t have to play by the rules,” Dale said. “They expect us to play by the rules.”

“They do a lot of times get away with stuff that nobody else can get away with,” Osage County Commissioner Ken Kuykendall said.

Dale said she had sent a letter to Reamer informing him that the county requires a flood plain development permit for the project, and proceeding without county permits could be a violation of county land use regulations. She noted that government entities do not have to pay a fee for county land use permits, but are required to apply for the permits.

Dale also reported she had heard complaints about the proposed project from a couple of nearby residents who were concerned about effects of the wetland on their property.

Osage County Commissioner Mike Pruitt advised Dale that if requests for the project plans go unheeded, she should discuss it with county counselor Delton Gilliland.

Dale also informed commissioners about other land use issues she has recently handled. One was an application for a building permit for a residence outside the city limits of Osage City.

Dale said she was contacted by Osage City Manager Nick Hernandez who was concerned about the county’s jurisdiction over a tract of land that is split by the city limits boundary line. She said that Scott Williamson plans to build a house outside the city limits on the property bordered on the south by 245th Street, a minimum maintenance road, and on the west by Osage City’s Ninth Street.

Dale said she suggested to Hernandez that the city annex the property if local control of the property is desired.

The other land use issue brought up by Dale was property near Pomona Heights subdivision that had been re-platted as a subdivision for four houses. A previous owner of the property had contacted Dale with concern about a previous agreement that stipulated only two homes could be constructed on the property. Dale said that with sale of the property to a new landowner, the previous agreements no longer applied. She said she had no authority over the re-plat, and the concerned individual’s only recourse would be in civil court.

In other business, the commissioners:

• met with Byron Jordan, Osage County Senior Center director, to discuss the resignation of Donald Chesmore as the center’s custodian and maintenance man. Commissioners accepted Chesmore’s resignation.

While speaking with Jordan, commissioners also reiterated their agreement to fund the center’s medical driver program until the end of the year. State funding has been cut for the program that pays mileage to transport elderly people to medical appointments. The program is expected to cost the county about $600 per month.

• noted the county’s surplus property auction was to be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday behind the road and bridge department, in Lyndon.

• approved a right-of-way request from Century Link to place a telephone line under Michigan Road in the east part of the county.