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Animal rescue shelter gets denied





A decision by the Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission to deny a conditional-use permit for an animal rescue shelter in Munjor was upheld by Ellis County commissioners at Monday night's regular meeting.

The planning and zoning commission denied the conditional-use permit submitted by Western Kansas Animal Refuge during its May 23 meeting. Following the meeting, a protest petition was filed by Brendon McCampbell of the animal refuge. Commission Chairman Swede Holmgren, who attended the May 23 meeting, said he had seen strong feelings on both sides of the issue expressed that evening.

"There were a number of issues that surfaced at that time that had to do with permits, with liability insurance and with a business plan of any sort," Holmgren said.

Several Munjor property owners expressed concerns about the shelter during the planning and zoning commission meeting, Holmgren said. Approximately a dozen Munjor residents also attended Monday night's regular commission meeting, and although none spoke against the facility, they applauded the commission's 3-0 vote to deny the conditional-use permit to the animal shelter.

"All in all, I would say that public sentiment is not to allow this in the residential areas of Munjor," Holmgren said. "Folks were pretty adamant about not having this in the town."

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During Monday's meeting, commissioners heard from five outside agencies submitting funding requests for 2013.

Those requests included:

* Ellis County Council on Aging -- $136,554, a decrease of $6,834 from 2012.

* Ellis County Extension -- $279,00, an increase of $14,000 from last year.

* Ellis Alliance -- $9,000, an increase of $4,000.

* Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development -- $87,550 an increase of $50.

* Hays Area Children's Center -- $149,000 an increase of $10,000.

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Other business:

* During a public hearing during Monday evening's regular meeting regarding a resolution to formally dispose of county property at 22nd and Vine streets and acquire the Commerce Bank property at 718 Main, Ellis County resident Martha McClelland brought forth several questions to commissioners.

"Why was the hearing held after the fact?" she said. "The agreement was signed on Sept. 12, 2011, and today is nine months later.

"Why is this necessary?"

Although commissioners did not speak to McClelland's concerns, which included inadequate notice of the public hearing, lack of cost estimates on Commerce Bank's remodeling and whether the county had obtained a permit for demolition of its property at 22nd and Vine, Holmgren asked she leave a copy of her questions so commissioners could address them.

* Joe Heimann, an Eagle Scout candidate, presented a project to build an archery range at Ellis County Fairgrounds. After hearing his presentation, commissioners asked county counsel be consulted regarding liability insurance issues.

* Kirkham Michael Consulting Engineers, seeking a contract for developing county roads and bridges, gave commissioners a business presentation.

* Kendall Krug and Galen Huser were approved for reappointment to the Joint Planning Commission.

* A resolution regarding unsecured loads was discussed by commissioners. A resolution from 1975 is in effect, although not enforced. Commissioners asked to get input from County Attorney Tom Drees regarding enforcement of the resolution.

* A property abatement resolution stemming from complaints about Jon Jacob's property at 886 280th Ave., Munjor, was passed 3-0.

* Commissioners authorized County Administrator Greg Sund to enter into a contract with Treanor Associates for architectural work on the Ellis County Courthouse and with Spangenberg Phillips Tice for architectural work on a new EMS/Rural Fire Department building and renovations of the Commerce Bank building.

* Sund reported to commissioners interest rates of five-year general obligation bonds are now 1.5 percent.

* Sund informed commissioners of development of an adult day care now in its planning stages.