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Reno County Commission Gives Blessing to City of Hutchinson’s Request to Annex Three Tracts of Land Off K-96


By Lucky Kidd


RENO COUNTY, Kan. — The Reno County Commission has given its blessing to the City of Hutchinson’s request to annex three tracts of land off K-96 near the Elmer community into the city of Hutchinson. Per state law the County made required findings that the island annexation, or not adjoining the current city limits, would not hinder or prevent proper growth and development of that area or of any other incorporated city in Reno County.

The property, where an industrial park is to be developed, does lie within the extra-territorial jurisdiction of South Hutchinson, but Commissioner John Whitesel said in conversations with incoming South Hutch City Council members they did not have any opposition.

One person who lives in the area, Karen Drake, addressed Commissioners on concerns residents in that area. It was noted there are still a number of steps involved in development for which public comment will be available.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Commissioners approved a six month extension of the moratorium on commercial solar systems in the County and have given some clarification as to what they are wanting to see in regulations the Reno County Planning Commission now has under consideration. Commissioners discussed at length how regulations should be developed as to smaller-scale solar systems such as may be used by homeowners and businesses, or the type of small solar systems used by entities such as Ark Valley Electric Cooperative. Related to that, there was some discussion on what regulations should be looked at for pole mounted versus building mounted systems and how it should be applied at all on residential systems.

At the start of the meeting, Hutchinson resident Casey Swartz urged commissioners to not ban commercial solar development, refuting multiple claims made by opponents of commercial solar development at a Planning Commission hearing including those related to toxic chemical leaks from damaged panels and raising the issue of private property rights.

The Commission also approved a purchase by Fire District 7 at Turon of a 1997 fire truck from Fire District 3 at Nickerson, which recently took delivery of a new fire engine. This truck would replace a 1989 model that’s well past its service life and did not pass an annual pump test.

The truck being purchased is of a size that would fit their station building height. Commissioners also declared the 1989 truck and a 1963 tanker truck they no longer use as surplus so they can be disposed of.

Commissioners also approved purchase of a new cascade breathing air fill system for Fire District 4 to be based at their Arlington station. This system would also serve the needs of three other districts and is identical to what Fire District 9 at Haven has.