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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Commission awards contract to rewrite zoning regulations

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

MOUND CITY – On a split 2-1 vote, the Linn County Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 11, decided to hire James Kaup of Kaup Law Office, Topeka, to revamp the county’s zoning regulations.

Commission Chair Jim Johnson voted against the decision because Kaup’s bid was $39,000 as compared to the bid by the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), Kansas City, Mo., which was $25,000 plus expenses.

IBTS, a national company, recently just completed updating the comprehensive plan for the County.

Kaup, an attorney, has specialized in Kansas and rural Kansas land-use management throughout his career.

After Zoning Administrator Darin Wilson presented the decision of the county planners, who voted 6 to 3 to recommend hiring Kaup to the commissioners, individual planners gave their separate opinions why they had chosen Kaup.

Planning commission Chair Richard Morrell told the commissioners that he had been one of the “no” votes at the meeting, but that after looking over the reasons to choose Kaup, he had decided that Kaup was the best choice.

Morrell said that he was really concerned that if the county chose IBTS that they would be paying down the road again and again.

“I think it is prudent of us to pay what it costs to do it up front, do it right, and be done with it,” said Morrell.

“I am not comfortable with IBTS,” said Dave Berglund, another planning commission member. “ I thought we just got some cheap frosting smeared on some bad cake with the first part of the comprehensive plan.

“We need someone who has sat and dealt with these things. I just felt that Kaup was much more qualified.”

Planning commission member Charlene Sims said she believed that Kaup was more familiar with zoning regulations in Kansas rural areas, and she felt that he could address the planning boards questions directly without having to consult with other people.

Ed Anderson, another planner, said that he had checked some of the references of Kaup and while one reference said they did not know him, another reference highly recommended him.

Mike White, a planning commission member who had voted against choosing Kaup, said that he was unhappy that Kaup seemed to dodge his question during the interview process.

White said he asked Kaup how he would jumpstart the rewrite of the zoning regulations if the planning commission stalled out in the process of rewriting the regulations.

Planning commissioner Fred Kautt told the commissioners that no man stands alone in making the decisions for all of us and any board or company such as IBTS has both male and female people making the decisions and suggestions for all of us and that’s why he voted for IBTS.

Wilson told the commissioners that the planning commission members had made their decision after interviewing the candidates and then holding several workshops to go over their qualifications.

“I think they really evaluated both companies and want to move forward,” said Wilson.

County Commissioner Rick James said that it would be tough for him to go against the 6-to-3 vote from the planning commission especially since had heard everyone speak.

‘These are probably some of the most important documents we are going to have for our county’s future,” James said. “if our board is comfortable with it and you feel okay with it.”

Commission Chair Jim Johnson asked the other commissioners what they decided when they wrote the comprehensive plan, were they content with the lowest price bid.

“Just because it is a lower bid does not mean it’s a better product,” said Commissioner Danny McCullough.

McCullough said that he liked that the board had done a lot of research and he was in favor of following their recommendation.

McCullough made the motion to accept the planning board’s recommendation, and it was approved with Johnson voting against the measure.

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