County gives notice to Hunt Midwest Mining
Company has 10 days to shut down quarry or face fines
Johnson County has informed Hunt Midwest Mining Inc. that it is operating Sunflower Quarry south of De Soto in violation of county zoning regulations.
Johnson County Legal Counselor Don Jarrett said the county informed Hunt Midwest in a letter dated Nov. 17 that Sunflower Quarry was operating without a conditional use permit, in a violation of county zoning regulations.
"The intent is they comply with county regulations," he said. "Absent some arrangement with the county, the idea is they will cease operating or we will issue fines."
Robert Ford, a lawyer in Jarrett's office, said the fine would be about $500 to $1,000 a day and would escalate with added citations.
Hunt Midwest officials did not return telephone calls.
The quarry has been without a permit since May when the Kansas Supreme Court upheld Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Foster's earlier ruling that Hunt Midwest's annexation agreement with the city of De Soto was invalid because it violated the neighbors due process rights.
Subsequent to that ruling, Johnson County District Court Judge William Isenhour found De Soto's annexation of the quarry was no longer valid because the Supreme Count decision stripped it of key elements.
Finally, earlier this month Foster found he didn't have authority to rule on the neighbors' request that he order the city to close the quarry because of Isenhour's ruling, but he warned Hunt Midwest it continued to operate at its own risk in the absence of a permit.
Should the quarry be forced to close until it gets a permit, trucks might not roll in and out of the quarry for four or five months. Hunt Midwest has applied for a conditional use permit from the county that the county is reviewing, said Dean Palos, Johnson County interim planning director.
"We're still in the process of collecting information," he said. "We've got quite a few questions yet."
Palos said his department would meet with neighbors before taking the application to the Consolidated Northwest Johnson County Planning Board. The application would be ready for the board's review "in January, at the earliest," he said.
It would take several months more for the permit application to reach the Johnson County Commission.