Conditional use permits were approved Monday by the Augusta City Planning Commission for a spook house, a communications tower, and a home occupation business.
Shane Scott, operator of the "Fear Factory Live” Halloween spook house attraction for the second straight year, spoke to the city planners about safeguards which would be in place at the site in a former church building at Sixth & School.
Operation of an amusement spook house is not allowed under the assembly classification for the building without a conditional permit.
City Inspector Dan Allen said the state fire marshal’s office has waived a sprinkler system requirement, but did mandate a smoke-alarm system for the building to carry out this activity which is expected to draw a number of youth from the Augusta and Wichita area.
Allen added that additional checks and “walk thrus” by city safety staff will happen prior to Friday’s opening night at “Fear Factory,” 530 School St. The workers will also be trained in use of fire extinguishers.
Scott said small numbers (4 to 5 people) are allowed in to enter the scenes and that staff has radio contact throughout the building to track numbers in an out or  should anything unexpected happen.
Planner Connie Thurman suggested a time limit should be added to the spook house conditional permit. Annual renewal was not ruled out.
The approval motion of the planning board stated use of the  building for this or similar activities would expire at the end of 2010.
Last year, Scott, other adults, and youth volunteers operated “Fear Factory” in the former grocery store at the Augusta Plaza shopping center on West Seventh St.
Home Business
Downtown businessman Mike Rawlings of MI-TEa Electric, received a conditional use to operate from his home and property in the1700 block of Sunset Drive. He’s in a unique position of having land in the city as well as the county.
He plans to move materials and equipment from his current location, 615 State, to an office and storage area in a two-story barn on his county property.?Entry and exit will be from Highland Drive, according to Monday discussion.
Planners asked if he was selling his downtown building.
Rawlings said he’s had a couple inquiries and added that a service contractor is not in thee long-term Main Street development plans.
City Inspector Allen said Rawlings would be able to put up a 2-foot by 2-foot sign at the home business.
Radio Tower
The third item for planners under New Business Monday was a conditional use permit for the City to put up a 100-foot radio communications tower on a site near the East Twelfth  Power Plant.
Allen said the site is large enough not so as if the pre-engineered ready-made tower  fell, “It wouldn’t hit anything.”
The were planner questions about “red-lighting” the top of the tower and Allen said is still researching that through rules and regulations of the Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA).