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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

No permission to continue operation for Kansas City Beef in Butler

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Since last Fall, the fate of the Kansas City Beef Company has been 'on the table' with the city of Butler and last night, a decision was made- the council voted not to allow the company to continue operations.

A quick recap, Kansas City Beef began operations of cutting and packaging beef slaughtered off site last June at the former Thorco location in south Butler with proper permission, or so it seemed. The initial interpretation of the city zoning map indicated that the property was zoned heavy industrial, which would allow processing on site but later was discovered the area was indeed light industrial, which does not allow for it. 

The discovery of the zoning issue was brought to light last Fall, and since then correcting the mistake has been rather complicated thanks to due process- such changes must first pass through the planning and zoning commission, then on to the council for final say. However, along the way, meetings had to be rescheduled due to lack of quorum and a few other reasons which led to a final decision made last night- some eight months after Kansas City Beef opened their doors.

As the meeting was underway,  Nick Yoder, co-owner of the company regressed by saying that they no longer are requesting permission to slaughter on site but would like to continue business as usual, cutting and packing however this action would still require rezoning. It was also noted that this change of request would again have to pass through the planning and zoning commission then again, be passed to the council for a final decision. 

Yoder's request to restart the process was voted down 4-3 (councilman Sargent was not present) thus ending the operation of the Kansas City Beef company in Butler.

Otherwise in the rather lengthy session, the council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that would allow the city to move $200,000 into a reserve fund for emergency use; approved the 2021/2022 budget; and approved a lot consolidation.

Some good news, attorney Joe Lauber provided information regarding the American Recovery Act, which is federal money available for covid relief. Unlike previous programs, ARA is available directly to the city, and the council is investigating what expenses are eligible for reimbursement.

The Butler Health Department has money available to purchase equipment for the parks department and the decision was made to purchase a wheelchair swing as there are many in our community who would enjoy using it.

A long discussion was held about building a sidewalk for folks to use to walk/ride bikes safely along west 52 to Walmart and other stores 'out west'. The biggest roadblock would be getting changes made to the railroad overpass, the city has looked into this before and it appears the railroad is highly resistant to change, and even if so, would be nearly cost prohibitive. Possibly another clear route via Ohio street to Prospect could be a solution.

The council also approved a machine that will sleeve a manhole (Butler has around 600) that will save a substantial amount of money vs hiring a contractor for the same work.

Remember, the Butler city council meets every first and third Tuesdays at 7 pm. Meetings will be held online via Zoom until further notice.