Blair Planning Commission roundup, April 6

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KB Quality Meats requests permit for expansion

The Blair Planning Commission recommended approval of a nonconforming uses limited extension permit for the owner of KB Quality Meats to expand his operation Tuesday during its regular meeting.

The commission unanimously recommended the approval for a 25-year permit for Kevin Barnhill with three stipulations, which include 16 striped parking stalls, installation of a grease trap in a future commercial kitchen and a letter from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy attesting that waste from the slaughter operation is being captured.

Barnhill said demand has prompted the expansion of his operation.

“There's no physical expansion of the building, we're just reorganizing in the current structure we had,” he said. “All we're doing is more. The demand is there. We're doing more of the same.”

Barnhill said the a new cooler will allow the business to utilize rails that were already installed in the building.

The grease trap has been installed, the letter was provided to the city and he's taking bids for the parking lot, Barnhill said.

“Explain to me what you're doing differently that makes you have to get a different conditional use permit,” commission member Joe Peleska said. “Is there anything different than what you were doing before?”

“No sir,” Barnhill said. “We're doing nothing different than what we've done for the last seven years.”

In February, the Blair City Council tabled an LB 840 request for funds from Barnhill until several concerns were addressed.

“The city's big concern was the slaughter operation,” Barnhill said. “The blood and affluent from the slaughter is hard on sewer systems.”

However, Barnhill said, the slaughter portion of the building is not hooked into the sewer system and the affluent is stored in a 1,500-gallon tank before it is pumped out.

The Blair City Council will consider the permit at its meeting Tuesday.

Neighbors oppose permit for storage units

Neighbors voiced their concerns over the renewal application for a nonconforming uses limited extension permit for a storage units located near 20th and Front streets.

Steve Saal with Saal Enterprises of Omaha was seeking a 30-year extension to his permit. Saal did not attend the meeting.

Ken Stier, who lives at 1960 Front St., across the alley from the facility, said he believed a 30-year permit was excessive.

“This would be like kicking the bad can down the street,” he said.

Stier had previously had issue with runoff from Saal's property. Those issues were addressed after Saal applied for a permit in 2017 after purchasing the storage units. Gutters were added to the building and portions of the property were hard surfaced.

But Stier said he has additional concerns, including the storage of hazardous materials in the units, which could be dangerous should the building catch fire.

“I could throw a rock from my back porch and hit that storage unit,” he said. “Just because of that and because there is no restriction on what can be stored in there, that structure should not be within 1,000 feet of a residential neighborhood and it is.”

Stier said he and his wife have also witnessed suspected criminal activity at the facility.

Bill Straube, who owns the property just to the east of the storage units, said the facility is in a state of disrepair.

Straube rented a unit for a few months in 2019.

“Most of the doors are shot and quite dangerous,” he said.

The commission recommended approval of the permit for 10 years with stipulations to install additional lighting and security cameras.

The Blair City Council will consider the permit at its meeting Tuesday.

Preliminary plats approved

The planning commission approved a preliminary plat for six new lots in the Skyline Acres subdivision.

The application was submitted Rebecca and Jerry Fox.

Rebecca Fox, who is a commission member, and commission member Ryan Schoeter disqualified themselves from voting on the application.

Access for the lots will be from Skyline Drive.

The commission also approved two other preliminary plats — one for two lots in Helen's Holler addition along U.S. Highway 75 northwest of Blair submitted by Wyngate Properties, LLC and one for two lots in the Bryan Ridge subdivision near 10th and Adams streets for Lyman and Donna Wrightson.

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