DE SOTO, Kan. — As the City of De Soto prepares for a major development boom, city leaders are planning ahead to help expedite the construction process. 

Thursday the city council will consider a proposal from the Institute Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) to offer building inspection services for the Panasonic project.

If approved, IBTS will provide a full-time onsite inspector to begin work later this month. A second full-time inspector from IBTS will be on site during high inspection periods as construction ramps up. All inspection services over the 35-month project period are estimated to cost roughly $1.09 million. 

IBTS will also offer plan review services for $420,000. The purpose of a plan review is to keep construction projects on track by ensuring the project is in compliance with all building codes. 

If approved, IBTS services would be paid for by Panasonic in the form of building permit and plan review fees. 

Rezoning 

The council will also review the first request to rezone property within the 6,000 acres of the former Sunflower Army Ammunition plant that was annexed into the city last year and re-annexed in early 2022.

The developer, Sunflower Redevelopment, is requesting the city rezone approximately 1,351 acres at the northeast corner of 95th and Lexington Avenue from rural to light manufacturing (M1). 

Under the city’s current zoning table, M1 zoning would allow for crop production, greenhouses, mining operations and battery manufacturing. Any proposed development within the M1 district would require site plan approval from the city council before construction could begin. 

TIF expansion 

Earlier this month the council amended its predevelopment agreement with Sunflower Redevelopment to annex an additional 2,800 acres on the former plant property into the city limits.

Thursday the council will consider a resolution to hold a public hearing on Dec. 1 to expand the established Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district on the former ammunition plant site to include the newly annexed property south of 127th Street.  

Planning future infrastructure 

In June, the city council approved four task orders to plan water, sewer and road upgrades to support future developments in the city’s southern growth area.   

The council now will consider issuing two additional task orders for the engineering firm HDR. 

Under the first task order HDR will create a “basis for design” report for the water treatment plant expansion project to be submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). This report must be completed before any work can begin on the planned upgrades. 

The second task order outlines plans for HDR to supplement city staff with utility coordination, easements, permitting and overall project coordination with KDOT, Panasonic and Flint Development.  

Similar to previous task orders, the latest two will be funded by the 2022 $400,000 CIP allocation for southwest growth area infrastructure. The city council will review these proposals at the next regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7p.m.