EC Kansas Information Article Relating to Zoning Legislation Adjustments in Lyon County Kansas



EC Kansas Information Article about our buddy, Angel Cushing and her willpower to battle modifications to zoning legal guidelines in Lyon County, Kansas, which is able to influence rural properties and small farming enterprise.

Lyon County small farmer says ag rules are thought of ‘a private risk to my property’

By T.H. Lawrence
Feb 23, 2021

Angel Cushing may be a small farmer, however she has an enormous drawback with what she perceives to be absurd and harmful over-regulation of agriculture.

Cushing raises goats in northern Lyon County. As a result of her operation occupies lower than 40 acres, she is required to indicate the agricultural use of her property. It’s a regulation she stumbled throughout in 2017 and has been researching and making her objections recognized.

“The Joint Emporia/Lyon County Complete Plan was handed in late 2017. I had no concept,” Cushing advised EC Kansas Information. “I did study later that City Collaborative, from Portland, Oregon, was employed to provide PLAN ELC and the accompanying zoning rules wanted to implement the Plan. Collectively, town and county paid City Collaborative greater than $450,000.”

Angel Cushing pets her animals at her farm. | Submitted
She mentioned her issues are that PLAN ELC shifts the economic system from agriculture and agriculture trade to tourism and vitality manufacturing, discourages land possession of lower than 40 acres or 16 houses per part, expands the Rail Path to incorporate trails on non-public property alongside the rivers and creeks, refers to non-public farmland as public through the use of phrases reminiscent of “agriculture landscapes,” “open area,” “inexperienced area” and related phrases, and others.

“It combines governing between town and the county. There are 5 metropolis commissioners and solely three county commissioners,” Cushing notes. “The town of Emporia now has the flexibility to manipulate unincorporated Lyon County — my farmland. It implements formed-based zoning on farmland.”

“Kind-based zoning is imprecise rules which can be strictly enforced,” she mentioned. “The thought is to make the method of progress simpler and less expensive for a developer, including extra streets to a deliberate subdivision, for instance. It has its objective. Obscure rules enable abuse. Agriculture exemption is an instance.”

However she mentioned the primary part of the rules quotes state regulation that claims all agriculture is exempt. Every part then goes on to control agriculture land.

“This permits the zoning administrator to select and select who they wish to apply what rules to,” Cushing mentioned. “Provided that the aim of those zoning rules is to eradicate agriculture and change it with tourism and vitality manufacturing, I take into account these rules a private risk to my property and pursuit of happiness.”

She is satisfied most individuals within the state would oppose this — if made conscious of it. Cushing believes 99% of Kansans have no idea that is taking place.

“Not one Lyon County resident is in favor of those rules,” she mentioned. “Not one individual has spoken in favor of those rules at any of the hearings. The one people I’ve met who’re in favor of those rules are members of governing our bodies.”

Cushing mentioned there’s a distinct lack of public enter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been linked to greater than 294,000 circumstances and 4,614 deaths in Kansas.

”A minimum of one-third of the cellphone calls I’ve taken have been people who feared attending hearings or conferences that will expose them to COVID,” she mentioned. “In gathering petition signatures for the protest petition, the most typical response I obtained was, ‘You understand, you can be spreading COVID.”

There isn’t any regulation or deadline on rules, Cushing mentioned.

“Pushing this in the course of a pandemic will not be representing the folks,” she mentioned. “There are a couple of petitions that had been used on this course of. Every time, the quantity of signatures grew. Within the final one, we collected 1,087 signatures (1,084 in 14 days) of residents in unincorporated Lyon County. There are 1,589 residents listed within the Lyon County 2019 plat listing. And nonetheless, we had been ignored.”

She has written state legislators to specific her issues and supply detailed info.

“PLAN ELC was handed towards the suggestions of the zoning board, with out anybody realizing about it. It wasn’t till the eve of the vote to cross the rules wanted to implement PLAN ELC in August of 2019 that anybody seen,” she wrote. “And even then, we had been all in shock. In spite of everything, who of their proper thoughts would ban barb-wire fences in cattle nation? Why does the federal authorities need Lyon County, Kansas, to surrender agriculture? Maybe the authors of our PLAN ELC and zoning rules are an indicator.

“The City Collaborative is a Portland, Oregon-based firm that prides itself in designing navy installations for the Division of Protection. The lead designer has one other firm known as Craft Crickets. Crickets, sure bugs, are promoted because the protein of the longer term. We should transfer away from beef, pork, hen and different livestock with a purpose to save the planet. You might be studying this accurately. It isn’t a joke.”

Cushing mentioned authorities entities are coerced into cooperating in the event that they wish to proceed receiving federal {dollars}. It looks like the “Twilight Zone,” however is all too actual in her view.

“Each federal program in existence has been transformed right into a instrument to push excessive agendas,” she wrote. “This has been an exhausting battle for me. Greater than a yr has passed by battling the rules wanted to transform non-public property into public lands. Please, assist me win this battle.”

Cushing requested the legislators to name a Conference of States to deal with tighter rules on agricultural property and different points that she believes are linked to a runaway federal authorities intent on trampling particular person rights.

“Federal grant cash is the motive of this Joint Emporia/Lyon County Complete Planning and Zoning,” Cushing mentioned. “These anti-livestock manufacturing and anti-farming concepts have change into a cultural society inside our federal bureaucracies. Kansas wants to hitch different states in discussing these concepts being pressured onto communities.”

She mentioned residents have the fitting to vote on what number of commissioners they’ve.

”We also needs to have the fitting to vote on whether or not we wish to be a part of elected our bodies with different communities,” Cushing mentioned.

State officers ought to step in, in her view.

“It might be great if the state lawyer basic’s workplace would implement a number of the legal guidelines they’ve, reminiscent of these on KOMA and KORA,” she mentioned. “It might be great if Lawyer Common (Derek) Schmidt would have an opinion of public hearings in the course of a pandemic. I do know complaints have been filed relating to that situation, a couple of have been shared with me. Why doesn’t a county lawyer have to write down down his opinion when he throws out a petition? If it isn’t official, shouldn’t the three-quarters majority wanted to cross the rules stand?”

Cushing urges folks to conduct analysis to grasp the implications.

“It’s straightforward to make this situation Angel versus the county commissioners should you haven’t learn the plan and rules,” she mentioned. “In the case of the rules keep in mind, they’re written vaguely for a cause. You’ll probably want to rent a lawyer to grasp their implications utterly, as I needed to do.“

She offers part 3.4.2 of the rules for instance: “These constructing requirements shall not apply to using land for agricultural functions nor for the erection or upkeep of agricultural buildings so long as such agricultural buildings are used for agricultural functions and no different.”

Cushing mentioned she wonders how far that goes. How about storing the beer fridge within the barn? Parking a ship in one of many stalls? Storing your child’s furnishings within the loft whereas they look ahead to the brand new home to get constructed? How about fishing poles and tenting gear?

“And why is the phrase ‘completely’ included within the definition of agriculture buildings?” she requested.

One other troubling instance is 1.8.3 within the rules, Cushing mentioned.

“Landowners with lower than 40 acres must cross an agricultural take a look at (proving they’re ag),” she mentioned. “I should purchase 80 acres for a weekend campground for myself and robotically be ag exempt, although I produce nothing off of it and promote not one agricultural product. Nevertheless, my 37-acre goat farm during which I produce market goats and promote, would require a take a look at. Why am I handled in another way than somebody who owns 41 acres?”

For extra info, overview the Joint Emporia/Lyon County Complete Plan, which can also be on town of Emporia’s web site.

Zoning rules handed on Jan. 21 are: Part 1-6, and Part 7-10.

Hyperlink to unique article HERE

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