Iola rezones college land

The City Council approved a rezoning request on behalf of Allen Community College. The college purchased new land that needs to be rezoned as well as existing property that never had its zoning changed.


Local News

June 11, 2024 - 2:50 PM

Mayor Steve French presents the Iola High School Forensics Team with a proclamation declaring June 10, 2024 as Iola High School Forensics Team Day. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

Iola City Council members approved a rezoning request on behalf of Allen Community College during Monday evening’s meeting. 

The college recently purchased 33.56 acres north of its main campus with the purpose of building more college facilities, including a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) building. 

The zoning for the new properties at 515 E. Miller and 2000 N. Cottonwood are currently R-1 single family residential and need to be rezoned to C-2 general business. During the rezoning process, it was realized the college’s current property at 1801 N. Cottonwood is also zoned as R-1. “It should have been re-zoned C-2,” Gregg Hutton, Code Enforcement Officer, said. “We need to get everything current.”

As a precursor to Monday’s meeting, the city’s planning commission had approved the college’s application on May 21.

Mayor Steve French posed what he deemed a “historical” question to Hutton — whether the campus was the last property within the boundaries of the city limits that is able to have livestock. 

“City code says you can have cattle in city limits,” said Hutton. He added that cows have to be at least 200 feet from any residential structure.

“When the college built the dorms, they chose to build less than 200 feet from the property line of where the cattle were on the neighboring property,” added Hutton. “That was the college’s decision, not the property owner who had the cows.”

Code Enforcement Officer Gregg Hutton explains to city council a rezoning request made by Allen Community College. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

IN OTHER NEWS, students from Iola High School’s Forensics Team were on-hand to receive a proclamation designating June 10, 2024 as Iola High School Forensics Team Day. The team’s accomplishments, both individually and collectively, at the state meet — including four first places — were highlighted during the proclamation. 

Next, the council agreed to meet developer Shane Lamb halfway with his requests concerning a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the rehabilitation of the old Arkhaven nursing home at 1336 N. Walnut.

“The applicant is not here tonight, so you all can proceed as you wish,” said City Administrator Matt Rehder. 

Council member Nicholas Lohman motioned to approve the first two requests — apply for a $300,000 CDBG and act as administrator. With no second, his motion died. 

Wells then moved to approve the labor costs to provide electrical infrastructure on the city’s side, but not the materials. Council member Joelle Shallah seconded. The council approved, with members Kim Peterson and Josiah D’Albini opposing.

Lamb, acting as Invest America Group (IAG), presented the council with requests at their May 28 meeting. Lamb is turning the former nursing home into apartments. 

The requests include applying for a $300,000 CDBG; acting as administrator for the CDBG via a contract between the city and a third-party administrator; waiving nearly $91,000 in material and labor costs to provide electrical infrastructure on the city-side; and pay for infrastructure on the private side of the transformer. 

At the prior meeting, council members requested more information before proceeding. 

Rehder noted that the questions the council had were forwarded to Lamb. “I didn’t hear anything back,” said Rehder.

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