EDGERTON, Kan. — More giant warehouses might be on the horizon for Edgerton after a marathon city council meeting Thursday spilled into early Friday morning.
Furious homeowners focused on the question of rezoning dominated the public comment period: Should certain areas — now zoned as rural residential — become zoned as industrial as part of Phase 2 of the larger NorthPoint Development?
Neighbors of the properties proposed for rezoning, some living in Miami County and some in Johnson County, met ahead of the city council meeting where they planned to voice their dissent.
“After we found out about all this, we’ve had to watch every move they make because the way they’re doing it is sneaky and deceptive, and they don’t want people to know their next move,” said Jenni Koch, who lives near 215th Street and South Gardner Road.
Koch helped lead a parade of vehicles around the properties in question — many on South Gardner Road. They are once-unincorporated land purchased by LLCs with names like “Wellsville Farms,” “Hillsdale Land and Cattle,” and “South JOCO Farms.” Those buyers were actually connected to the NorthPoint Development and later requested annexation by Edgerton.
After three hours of public comment at the city council meeting, Patrick Robinson, vice president of development for NorthPoint Development, stressed the potential economic impact for the region.
“I heard a comment saying that we should be ashamed of ourselves for calling each other partners. And the only observation I would add in comment or rebuttal to that is isn’t that what you’d want your corporate members to be like in your community?” Robinson said.
The properties would be planned sites of warehouses with potentially millions of square feet worth of space. Robinson said that the proposed Edgerton project is currently the largest spec projects in Kansas.
According to promotional materials for the development, the setup would allow transportation options for businesses partnering with the BNSF Railway.
But a neighbors to one of the properties, Brady Bannister, said increased truck traffic and ruined landscapes would crush some of his hopes as a father.
“Like I said, we moved our little girls out here to have some room to run and kind of be closer to family and stuff. It’s a little paradise for us,” Bannister said.
“It’s discouraging and we stand to lose a lot when we just moved to this area in what’s supposed to be our forever home. My wife and I have put a lot of time and effort into our place and making it what we want,” Bannister said.
Koch said that if rezoning is ultimately approved, there would be a lawsuit brought against Edgerton.
“By living out here in Miami County and Johnson County, neighboring Spring Hill and Gardner, we know the rules and regulations we have to abide by as people who live here. And now that Edgerton is our new neighbor, they don’t follow those same rules and regulations,” Koch said.
Coming out of that city council meeting: a brief reprieve for those homeowners as the city council sends the rezoning question back to the planning commission for reconsideration. They had previously voted against rezoning seven of the properties proposed for rezoning.
Another five properties, about 134 acres of land just slightly farther away, however, was approved for that industrial rezone.