Miami County Administration Building

Miami County Administration Building

The debate over the proposed city of Golden will be moving across the street.

Jennifer Williams, who filed a petition April 9 to incorporate about 9 square miles north of Hillsdale Lake into a city to block the march of intermodal warehouses into Miami County, said the County Commission’s decision to deny incorporation of Golden will be contested.

The County Commission voted 3-1 against incorporation of Golden at its Oct. 13 meeting. At their meeting Wednesday, Oct. 27, commissioners voted to approve a resolution adopting the order denying incorporation of the proposed city.

Later that afternoon, Williams confirmed an appeal will be filed in Miami County District Court. Williams’ April petition had 287 signatures, collected in four days. She estimated with a little more time the petition would have had over 300 signatures.

Williams believes the vast majority of residents within the boundaries of the proposed city support incoporation of Golden.

Proponents and opponents of the city of Golden spoke during the public comment portion of the commission’s Oct. 27 meeting.

“I spoke with several of my neighbors following that vote that just felt like they had been kicked in the gut,” supporter Charlie Koch said. “They felt like this was the last chance that we had for somebody who is supposed to represent us politically to look out for our interests and our properties and not have our neighborhood just enveloped by warehouse development.”

Koch, who lives on West 215th Street, said a “yes” vote would have given residents the political representation they were looking for and it would have preserved Miami County’s comprehensive plan to maintain the rural character of that northern portion of the county.

“Having turned down our solution, what is your solution,” Koch asked commissioners. “Because all the problems are still there.”

Tom Bach, a Golden opponent who resides on West 231st Street, thanked Commission Chair Rob Roberts and Commissioners Phil Dixon and George Pretz for voting to deny the incorporation. He also thanked Commissioner Tyler Vaughan who was in favor of incorporating Golden.

“Although I didn’t agree with your vote, personally I respect you and your service to the county,” Bach said to Vaughan.

Bach said during the six-month process, commissioners spent hour after hour analyzing, listening, reading and pondering the effects of the proposed city on the area, on the entire community and the whole county.

“You fulfilled your fiduciary responsibility to your job, not as township trustees but as county commissioners,” Bach said. “I know I speak for the vast silent majority who say thank you for your vote on Golden.”

Supporter Jennifer Whitlow said she did not think the commission’s decision represented the residents of northern Miami County nor the best interests of Hillsdale Lake in paving the way for intermodal expansion into Miami County.

“Without Golden, you can’t protect us,” Whitlow said. “Did you come up with a way that you will be able to represent us? My property borders Johnson County. I have watched this happen in Johnson County to where people are surrounded and they don’t have representation.”

County staff and other experts have noted that approval of the county commissioners is not required if the city of Edgerton, or any other city, annexes land in Miami County by consent of the landowner.

The Logistics Park Kansas City intermodal facility is located in Edgerton, which has seen its city boundaries expand by more than five miles in the past 10 years to accommodate growth of the intermodal facility, according to information provided by Jim Kaup, the attorney advising the County Commission in the matter.

The intermodal complex has advanced to Miami County’s doorstep.

“I find that to be a very vulnerable place,” Whitlow said. “We moved out there four years ago as our dream home and we feel it is turning into kind of a nightmare.”

John DeGrande of DeGrande Farms, who is a neighbor of the Kochs and the Williams, said he is opposed to the city of Golden.

“I want to thank commissioners for their vote,” DeGrande said. “I truly believe you examined all the data and tried to make the best decision that you thought for (all of) Miami County, not just the citizens of Golden or the landowners but for the county.”

Petitioner Williams also addressed the commission.

“We are not anti-business but we also recognize there is smart growth practices,” Williams said. “And infiltration of inappropriate development of a warehouse right next to a home — they don’t match.”

She said Golden supporters want representation for how their neighborhood looks in the future — not outside interests.

“We don’t get to vote for mayors and city councils, but they get to come into our neighborhood and tell us what to do,” Williams said.

She said supporters of Golden wanted to work with the county.

“You can still have the intermodal along I-35 from the Sunflower exit to Wellsville where the infrastructure is there to support it with the highway,” she said.

She said supporters also did not want to take away the property rights of large landowners.

“We’re not trying to hurt anyone,” Williams said.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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