McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission unanimously approved a request to allow a truck and farm equipment repair facility to be operated on a lot located on the North side of Drive 716, just west of Orscheln's. The approval puts the business one step closer to its goal of relocating and expanding, which owner Randy Lashley says would mean the addition of at least five new jobs for the area.
The request for a special exception from project developers, Randy and Curtis Lashley, will now be forwarded to the McCook City Council for final approval and will be accompanied by recommendations for approval from city staff as well as the planning commission.
Commissioners voted against a similar request from the Lashleys in April, after city staff indicated that the previous site, located on the southeast corner of intersection of Road 383 and Drive 716, would not follow suggested residential use of the location and would impact existing residences.
Gary Dicenta of Miller and Associates spoke in support of the project, Monday evening, during the Commissioners regularly scheduled meeting at Memorial Auditorium. Dicenta said the proposed location for the business had been changed to one suggested by commissioners at the last meeting and said the business would adhere to Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality regulations, which he said should alleviate concerns pertaining to potential contamination of drinking water that was mentioned in a recent Gazette article.
The concerns were filed with city staff in April, by then residents of Drive 716 John and Jamie Byerly. The Byerly's concerns also included increased traffic on Drive 716 and stating the road had a 6 ton per axle limit. The Byerly's did not respond to a message left last week requesting an update of their concerns.
Dicenta said the business would not generate an increase of traffic on the road and also stated the county, who maintained Drive 716, was aware of the business and had no concerns.
"There is no weight limit on that road. This type of traffic isn't anything new," said Dicenta, who also serves as the Red Willow County Surveyor.
A representative of the Lashley's farm and truck business corrected that there was a posted weight limit on the road, but the vehicles they serviced would not exceed it.
Lindy Whipps with Doubletree Realty also spoke in support of the project. Whipps said his group had developed several lots in that area recently and hoped to continue. Whipps also told commissioners that he believed there was potential for Titan Machinery, which finalized the purchase of Curly Olney's Inc. in July, to close the Curly Olney location. Whipps said such a closure would increase the local need for the Lashley's farm and truck repair business.
Tim Keelan with Hanna:Keelan Associates, P.C. of Lincoln, Nebraska, presented commissioners with an introduction of what to expect from the upcoming process of updating the City Comprehensive plan. Keelan estimated the accompanying housing study to take six months to complete and the comprehensive plan itself to take 13 months.
Keelan cited several new ways to gather citizen input on the project, including a new social media site www.mindmixer.com, which he said was geared towards the younger generations. Keelan also said a planning steering committee comprised of more than 20 individuals from various age groups has been beneficial in other communities.
Keelan tentatively scheduled an August meeting with the planning commission to continue the discussion in more detail.
Kurt Vosburg was selected chair of the planning commission for April 2012 through March 2013. Dale Dueland was selected vice-chair and Tammie Hilker was selected secretary.