Archive for Thursday, August 21, 2003

Judge starts clock on Hunt Midwest

August 21, 2003

Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Foster has dealt Hunt Midwest Mining Inc. another setback while putting the company on the clock.
Foster ruled Aug. 7 that Hunt Midwest must obtain a permit to operate Sunflower Quarry within 90 days. Foster issued a summary judgment in March 2002, striking down parts of the annexation agreement that brought Hunt Midwest's Sunflower Quarry south of 95th Street into the city. In June, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld Foster's ruling.
De Soto City Attorney Patrick Reavey said Foster's ruling didn't take action against the city requiring enforcement of the conditions of its special use permit regulating quarries, including a $500-a-day fine for quarrying without a permit.
Reavey said he was unsure whether Foster ruled Hunt Midwest had to have the permit in 90 days or apply for one in that time period. Hunt Midwest attorneys understood the judge ruled the quarry had to be permitted in that time frame, he said.
Foster was expected to release transcript of his decision that would clarify the deadline, Reavey said.
If Foster did indeed rule a permit had to be in place in 90 days, there is a real possibility Sunflower Quarry could face a temporary shutdown. The process of obtaining a permit involved public hearings and notifications of neighbors that would challenge the 90-day window, he said.
Hunt Midwest officials have filed an application for a permit, but from Johnson County not De Soto. That application was made soon after the Supreme Court's ruling and came as company officials requested de-annexation from De Soto. The county has no jurisdiction to act on the permit request as long as the quarry remains part of De Soto.
Last month, the City Council denied the de-annexation request, which led Hunt Midwest attorneys to file a brief in Johnson County District Court asking Judge William Isenhour to rule what remains of the annexation agreement invalid.
In an effort to speed up that process, Hunt Midwest filed an Aug. 15 motion asking Isenhour to issue a summary judgment on the annexation agreement's legitimacy.
Reavey said Hunt Midwest's request anticipated his own planned request that Isenhour make a summary judgment on this issue. Reavey will now file a response to Hunt Midwest's request Sept. 5.
In the motion for summary judgment, Hunt Midwest has indicated it would follow up with a request to Judge Foster asking for additional time to get a conditional use permit from the county.

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