• Last modified 970 days ago (Oct. 8, 2020)


Would-be developer wants zoning change overruled

Staff writer

A Wichita investment group hopes to have a zoning appeal ruling overturned, 2018 amendments to zoning regulations nullified, and collect more than $75,000 from the county.

Roger Buller at Stonebridge Investments, LLC, filed suit Sept. 25 against Marion County board of zoning appeals. It is the latest step in Stonebridge’s attempt to install wind turbines in an area once planned for development by Rex Savage but later sold to Stonebridge and others.

Conditional use permits were granted long ago for the Doyle 4 project, a proposed wind farm development south of US-50 near Florence.

In 2015, Buller purchased rights to the permits held by Windborne Energy.

In March, Stonebridge applied for building permits to start construction. The planning and zoning department denied building permits because zoning administrator Sharon Omstead deemed the applications insufficient.

The county implemented a sunset clause in 2018 that terminated previously-approved conditional use permits on if the company did not apply for construction permits by April 1.

According to the petition, slow but steady progress was made on Buller’s intended wind farm development between 2010 and 2018. This included feasibility studies, entering a road maintenance agreement, doing earthwork, and building access roads for turbines.

The petition states the county didn’t send Stonebridge written notice of the 2018 amendment to zoning code, and Stonebridge became aware of the zoning amendment in February.

On March 10, Stonebridge submitted an application for a building permit extension, which was rejected by zoning administrator Sharon Omstead because she believed the application was insufficient.

Stonebridge resubmitted the application March 20. Again Omstead rejected the application.

Stonebridge submitted a third application March 30, and Omstead again rejected it. On March 31, Stonebridge submitted another application, which was rejected April 1.

Stonebridge appealed her decision to the zoning board, and the appeal was denied Aug. 27.

Now Stonebridge appeals to the court. The company claims it relied on a zoning rule, had vested interest in development of a wind farm, that new zoning regulations don’t apply to Stonebridge, that the denial of building permits was unreasonable, that its property was taken by the county, and that the resolutions amending zoning regulations should be ruled null and void.

Last modified Oct. 8, 2020