TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A dispute over motocross events on land in southeast Shawnee County drove commissioners to approve new permit rules for special events.
The home rule resolution approved Thursday amends zoning regulations so that property owners could hold two events a year on their property plus two more dissimilar events. The resolution includes a 30-foot buffer zone for adjacent properties.
The discussion dates back to April 2012, when neighbors objected to motocross events Perry Keegan wanted to hold on his land at SE 37 and Woodring Rd. near Tecumseh. Keegan's request for a permit to hold up to 15 events a year at the property was ultimately denied over neighbors' protests about noise, traffic and other concerns. A working group then was formed through the county's planning department, with Keegan participating, to develop the proposal commissioners considered Thursday.
Neighbors wanted commissioners to take the proposal a step further and widen the buffer to 50 feet. Property owner Ed Peck said a wider buffer would lessen the noise impact for neighbors. He said he understood people inviting friends over for a small gathering to ride, but he felt what Keegan was doing was beyond that.
But Keegan urged commissioners to look at the bigger picture. He said the resolution would not be specific to his situation, but to all county property owners. He said the larger the buffer area, the more of a person's property that becomes unusable. He added that he was jumping through hoops to do something that would bring people into the county, without impacting neighbors to the extent they argued.
Commissioners approved the measure two to one. Bob Archer voted "no," saying he supported the wider buffer zone.