Request for Special Use Permit goes back to the Planning Commission

In response to Andover Mayor Ben Lawrence’s veto last week concerning the special use permit for Butler Community College’s building project, the Andover City Council voted Tuesday night to sent the request back to the Planning Commission.
Butler Community College and its leaders have been fielding questions about funding and spending since early this year when Kansas Representative Kristey Williams began waging a campaign to slash BCC’s mill levy.  Williams’ claims that taxpayers are not being heard and are being unfairly taxed, instigated discussion with residents, college officials and listening tours hosted by the BCC trustees.
Williams agrees with others who think that Butler should increase out-of-county tuition for the large number of students coming from Sedgwick County, lower the in-county tuition and lower its mill levy.
Butler had plans for renovation and construction at the 5000 Building on E. 13th Street in Andover, but following pressure and questioning from Williams and a veto from Andover Mayor Ben Lawrence concerning a special use permit that would have allowed the construction project at the Andover campus to move forward.
Since 1992, Butler has leased the north wing of Andover High School for Student Services offices and numerous classrooms. With the Andover School District bond issue and the construction of new facilities at Andover High School, the north wing of the building will be demolished by the summer of 2020, thus creating the need for Butler to relocate its current operations.
Because of prior notice, Butler’s Board of Trustees had set aside reserve funds to be used for this move and renovation. College leaders have said that BCC is not expanding; the school is simply consolidating buildings.
“This is a planned expenditure from our reserves, with no additional money needed from taxpayers,” said Kent Williams, CPA, vice president of finance stated last August.
At the same time Butler President Kim Krull stated, “We will not raise the mill levy for the Andover consolidation.For the past two years, we’ve set aside funds to be used for this purpose.”
Andover Mayor Lawrence outlined his explanation for the veto last week and advised that its time to take a stand against “the tax and spend policy” of BCC, which he feels  has grown out of control.
Immediately following Lawrence’s veto, Krull stated in a letter to the City Council, “We will work with an external group of Butler County residents and leaders to develop a vision and strategic plan process to determine what Butler County wants in its higher education system and what it will pay for.”
Krull explained that the strategic plan will use input from students, community residents and businesses in determining how Butler can better serve everyone’s needs.
Krull also stated that if the project isn’t approved, it will result in lasting consequences for students, including potentially higher education costs if they have to attend a different  school.
The Planning Commission, which will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 16 and should return the special use permit request to the Council on Oct. 30.  
“Approval of Butler’s special use permit should be focused on zoning, not on politics,” Krull said in her response to the mayor’s veto.
Mayor Lawrence advised that his concerns are about more than a zoning permit. He advised that Andover residents pay 30 more mills  more than its Sedgwick County residents and that places Andover at a disadvantage for attracting businesses and property owners.
For now, it’s back to the drawing board for  Andover’s leaders to determine what will happen with the Butler building project.

See the following press release received this morning from Kelly Snedden, Director, College Relations & Marketing at Butler:

"Immediately following Lawrence’s veto, Krull stated in a letter to the City Council, “We will work with an external group of Butler County residents and leaders to develop a vision and strategic plan process to determine what Butler County wants in its higher education system and what it will pay for.”
Krull explained that the strategic plan will use input from students, community residents and businesses in determining how Butler can better serve everyone’s needs.
Krull also stated that if the project isn’t approved, it will result in lasting consequences for students, including potentially higher education costs if they have to attend a different  school.
The Planning Commission, which will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 16 and should return the special use permit request to the Council on Oct. 30.  
“Approval of Butler’s special use permit should be focused on zoning, not on politics,” Krull said in her response to the mayor’s veto.
Mayor Lawrence advised that his concerns are about more than a zoning permit. He advised that Andover residents pay 30 more mills  more than its Sedgwick County residents and that places Andover at a disadvantage for attracting businesses and property owners.
For now, it’s back to the drawing board for  Andover’s leaders to determine what will happen with the Butler building project."