Lenexa may clear way for work to restart at deteriorating mine off K-10

Developers have proposed a three-phase quarrying project at the site, above, of the former Holland mine off K-10 and Renner Boulevard that could take up to seven years but would aim to stabilize the mined-out ground underneath for future development. Photo credit Nikki Lansford.

Correction: This site is off Renner Boulevard and K-10. An earlier version of this story’s headline mistakenly said K-7.

A plan to mine the area near Renner Boulevard and Kansas Highway 10 for the better part of the next seven years is being considered by Lenexa planners as a way of reclaiming land above the defunct and deteriorating Holland mine for eventual development.

Driving the news: The Lenexa Planning Commission gave unanimous approval Monday to a special use permit and preliminary plan that would allow a limestone mining and quarry operation for five years on 80 acres on the southwest corner of that intersection.

  • When site preparation and reclamation is included, the entire project is expected to last seven years and nine months.
  • The full city council is now set to discuss the item on Aug. 16.
  • The proposal would strip the old mine to a bit beyond its floor and refill it. The applicant, Mid-States Materials, LLC and Bettis Companies, would sell the rock as a way of recouping the cost of reclamation.

The upshot: The surrounding area is at the edge of Lenexa’s boundary and is mostly industrial, but a multi-family residential development, yet to be built, is immediately to the southwest in Olathe.

  • Because of topography and a small stream, the nearest any of those buildings could come to the quarry property line is 550 feet and an extra 25-foot landscaping buffer will be added to that, according to the planning document on file.

Three phases planned: Resuming quarry operations there would mean blasting, rock-crushing and hauling could begin once the site is ready. Mine officials have proposed the quarry operate in three phases:

  • The first would be a three-month preparation that includes adding turning lanes to the access point on Renner.
  • The second and longest phase is the five years for the mining itself, which would begin with the south side of the property, followed by the middle and north sides.
  • In the last phase, the developer would refill and grade the site in agreement with city specifications.

More details: The operation has the potential for environmental impacts including noise, dust, light, vibrations from blasting and stormwater runoff. To mitigate those, the developer also has agreed to some rules for operations.

  • Rock-crushing equipment cannot be located closer than 400 feet of the site’s western boundary
  • Blasting will be limited to Monday through Friday noon to 4 p.m.
  • Rock-crushing will be limited to Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional operations are limited to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The operator must meet state environmental and Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for airborne dust. A water truck and water spraying system will be in use on the site.
  • Lighting will only be used 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and must shine away from property lines
  • There will be no mining under the stream, and the streamway will be protected appropriately, per the document

Zooming out: Mining in the area goes back about four decades.

  • In 1976, it was part of the Holland mining operation, with tunnels going eastward under Renner Road, as it was known then.
  • The mining stopped on this portion in 1987 but continued across Renner until 1997.
  • The underground mines were done with pillars supporting the caverns where limestone was harvested. But because of the way the mining was done, problems arose – or rather sunk – afterwards.

Bigger picture: Planning commissioners were told Monday that the Holland mine operators likely dug too far into the floor, causing the pillars to become unstable and in some cases, collapse. As a result the surface has never been developed.

  • Mid-States and Bettis plan to strip out what remains of the pillars and limestone ceiling, later filling in and grading. But because that will be costly, they will use sales of that rock as a revenue stream to offset reclamation costs.
  • No one spoke at the public hearing about the proposal.

Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist who reports frequently for the Post and other Kansas City area publications. You can reach her at roxieham@gmail.com