City approves extraterritorial jurisdiction expansion

At the Sabetha City Commission meeting Monday, April 8, the commissioners – Mayor Doug Clark, Maridel Wittmer, Nick Aberle, Norm Schmitt and Julie Burenheide – approved Ordinance No. 1538, expanding Sabetha’s extraterritorial district.

This comes following a recommendation of the city’s Planning Commission to approve this expansion.

The new the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction is now at the legal maximum distance, which is three miles from any property legally considered to be within Sabetha’s city limits — including Sabetha City Lake and Pony Creek Lake. In the cases in which the three-mile distance comes within three miles of another incorporated city’s potential three-mile jurisdiction, the City of Sabetha has only gone half the distance.

Since the City of Sabetha did not previously include property surrounding the two city-owned lakes as extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction, the new jurisdiction has expanded the city’s jurisdiction four-fold. The jurisdiction now encompasses property from as far south as U.S. Highway 36 and just a half mile shy of the Kansas-Nebraska state line to the north; from P Road in Nemaha County on the west, to halfway between Chickadee and Coyote roads in Brown County on the east.

The Planning Commission also recommended that a sub-committee be formed to weigh in on any issues affecting any of the six townships included in the new extraterritorial jurisdiction. Sabetha City Attorney Martin Mishler said he is working on amending the Planning Commission’s bylaws to allow for a sub-committee for the six townships affected — Rock Creek, Gilman, Washington and Berwick in Nemaha County, and Morrill and Walnut West in Brown County.

Planning Commission

The Sabetha Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the proposed expansion of the City of Sabetha’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. This comes after the Planning Commission met on Thursday, April 4, to continue their discussion following the public comment portion of the meeting, which was held on Thursday, March 7.

In addition to the Planning Commission members – Bill Roggenkamp, David Koch, John Rebant, Lynn Hartter, Chairman Scott Wedel, Shannon Stapleton, Matt Heiman, Scott Krebs and Jerry Johnson – there were 14 members of the public present, as well as Sabetha City Commissioners Julie Burenheide, Maridel Wittmer, Nick Aberle and Norm Schmitt.

Wedel started the meeting by announcing that the public comment portion of the meeting was closed, and opened the meeting up for discussion among commissioners.

Krebs said that if the planning commission voted to approve the expansion, that they consider extending the representation on the planning board for each township effected.

“I would like to start with one of the aspects from the public comments that we had,” Krebs said. “I am not making any recommendations, but adding to this particular board, a sub-committee recommendation or advisory committee, that would work with us, that if we should extend the extraterritorial area, that they have some opportunity to weigh in as a sub-committee. If we got the full expanse that is six additional townships that are involved. I think it would be appropriate if we at least discuss it.”

“If we vote to expand, I can get behind that,” Roggenkamp said.

Johnson motioned to expand the extraterritorial jurisdiction to the full limit, saying they would probably be revisiting it in a few years if they decide not to expand it the full way now. Stapleton seconded the motion.

After discussion regarding where the new zoning lines would fall, the board voted unanimously to recommend to the Sabetha City Commission to expand Sabetha’s extraterritorial jurisdiction to the full legal limit according to Kansas statutes.

After approval, the board discussed the option of having a sub-committee who would act on matters affecting only their township. Krebs said this would give those in the new jurisdiction representation on the board.

“They [the representative] would meet with us and give their inputs [on zoning issues], and should be a member that would have a particular vested interest in that township,” Krebs said. “It would just be a sub-committee, so they would not be required to be at every meeting.”

Roggenkamp agreed, saying “no representation” was the biggest concern during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“That was the large claim for those who were against this,” Roggenkamp said, “to have no representation. This gives them representation. I would like to make that motion on the sub-committee.”

The board unanimously approved allowing a sub-committee to serve in this capacity. The board also decided to allow each township board to elect a member to sit on the sub-committee.

Heather Stewart240 Posts

Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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