News Releases

6/11/2020 - Salina Planning Commission Takes Action to Address Citizen Concerns
The City of Salina’s Community and Development Services Department is committed to providing fair, transparent, and accessible public meetings in accordance with the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA). Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 directives from the Saline County Health Department and the Governor of Kansas, many public meetings have been cancelled since early March. In an attempt to resume business, even with mass gathering limitations still in effect, the Planning Commission employed the same methods used by the City Commission and approved by K.A.R 16-20-1 which specifically addresses how to conduct opening meetings during an emergency declaration.

On June 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm, the Planning Commission met to hear three items: two zoning applications that required public hearings and an application to re-plat a portion of a subdivision. These items are as follows:

• Application #PDD20-1, filed by Salina Christian Academy, requesting a change in zoning district classification from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to PDD(R-2) [Planned Development District / Multi-Family Residential] on a 2.05 acre site at the southeast corner of Highland Avenue and Republic Avenue to allow the former Lowell Elementary School to be converted to multi-family housing (Public hearing continued from February 18, 2020 to allow the applicant to modify their application to a Planned Development District.)

• Application #Z20-2, filed by Joe Hill on behalf of the Joe Hill Trust, requesting a change in zoning district classification from R-2 (Multi-Family Residential) to 1-2 (Light Industrial) on a vacant lot facing Reynolds Street.

• Amended Application #P08-2B, filed by William (Bill) Sheppard, on behalf of Grand Prairie Villas, LLC requesting approval of a replat of Lots 18-36, Block 2 of the Grand Prairie Addition to the City of Salina to further subdivide these lots into 30 residential building lots. The replat area is located at the north end of Bentgrass Drive and contains 7.73 acres (Continued from the March 3, 2020 meeting to allow the applicant to amend their application to request reaffirmation of the street length variation for Bentgrass Drive approved as part of the preliminary plat).

The physical meeting itself was held at the City/County Building and had only Planning Commissioners and City Staff in attendance because of COVID-19 restrictions. The meeting was broadcast via Salina Media Connection on cable access and YouTube with public comment and listening capacity through a conference telephone line for taking public comment and to allow listening without internet access.

Over the past week, there have been concerns from the public regarding the audio and video connections of the June 2, 2020 meeting of the Planning Commission. Additionally, a concern has been raised as to whether one or more Planning Commissioners could hear well enough to take action on the Grand Prairie Addition Re-plat application (#P08-2B). In the interest of the preserving the integrity of the process, staff and the Planning Commission feel compelled to act accordingly.

A special meeting has been called by the Chair of the Planning Commission in order to determine whether planning commissioners had difficulty hearing public comments via the conference telephone line to an extent warranting reconsideration of application #P08-2B. The special meeting allows concerns and questions of the Planning Commission to be discussed publicly and offers opportunity for actions such as a reconsideration to address the issue further, if the Planning Commission so chooses. Application #P08-2B does not require a public hearing, however, the Planning Commission may take public comments if they so choose. If the Planning Commission votes to reconsider the matter, audio from the June 2nd meeting will be available and all material previously provided at that meeting will be available in the meeting packet so the commission may take action on the application if required. As we have done previously and due to the unscheduled nature of the meeting, notification of the meeting will be sent to all property owners within the Grand Prairie Subdivision. The special meeting is scheduled for June 23rd, 2020 at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center at 4:00 pm in the Great Plains Manufacturing Convention Hall. This location has been chosen because of the size and ability to hold the meeting with the possibility of significant attendance while maintaining safe social distancing.

At the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission, July 7, 2020, new public hearings will be held for both zoning applications, #Z20-2 and #PDD20, as heard on June 2, 2020. The new public hearings will supersede the June 2nd public hearing and will allow the Planning Commission to take public comment from persons present at the hearing and develop its ultimate recommendation to the City Commission on each of the rezoning applications. The applicants for both, #Z20-2 and #PDD20, voluntarily agreed to the new public hearing in support of the public process. New notification in accordance with Salina municipal code will be sent out as required. The July 7, 2020 regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission will be held at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center at 4:00 pm in the Great Plains Manufacturing Convention Hall. This location has been chosen because of the size and ability to hold the meeting with the possibility of significant attendance while maintaining safe social distancing.

Unfortunately, the June 2nd meeting experience does not seem to have been ideal for everyone. However, our commitment to the public process is unwavering and we will continue to do everything we can to make it work while still observing the health and safety precautions associated with COVID-19. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during these unique and challenging times.

Meeting Resources

Meeting Materials: The June 2, 2020 Planning Commission meeting materials can be found on the City’s website at the same location as future meeting materials. All future meeting agendas and packets get posted on the of City of Salina’s website at least 5 days prior to a meeting date. If you are familiar with the City’s website, www.salina-ks.gov, you may simply click on “City Government,” “Board & Commissions” right-click on “Planning Commission” and open in a new tab to access the link above. You are welcome to pick up a paper copy of the meeting agenda and packet in Room 205 of the City-County Building. You can also get meeting materials and announcements automatically sent to your e-mail by signing up for the City’s email notification system. Simply visit the link, “Email Notifications,” at the bottom of any webpage on the city’s website.

Watch A Meeting: Video of the Planning Commission meetings can be viewed on YouTube through the Salina Media Connections - Government Channel. Then click on “playlists” and scroll through to find Salina Planning Commission, videos are listed in chronological order.

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