Stan Clouse

It’s anticipated that all five Kearney City Council members, including Mayor Stan Clouse, will be present Tuesday when the governing body again considers granting a conditional use permit for a new gravel pit two miles east of the city. The issue initially came up on Dec. 10, but the council was short of the minimum of four voting members needed to approve the permit.

KEARNEY — For four Kearney City Council members, Tuesday’s agenda will sound familiar.

That’s because those four members of the five-person governing body will be revisiting an issue they weren’t able to decide during the Dec. 10 meeting when a Hastings paving company requested a conditional use permit to operate a gravel pit two miles east of Kearney.

The City Council was unable to act on the request from Vontz Paving Inc. because only three members were able to vote. A conditional use permit requires four votes.

Council members Randy Buschkoetter, Tami James Moore, Jonathan Nikkila and Bruce Lear were present Dec. 10, but Mayor Stan Clouse was absent and Lear abstained from the gravel pit issue because of a conflict of interest. That meant the only council members present and able to vote on Dec. 10 were Buschkoetter, Moore and Nikkila.

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On Tuesday, with all five council members expected to be present, it’s anticipated the council will have the four votes necessary to approve the conditional use permit, even if Lear again sits out because of a conflict.

On Dec. 10, several people protested the Vontz request.

Objecting to the gravel pit permit were Roy Benson, who owns land east of the Vontz tract, along with his brother, Rex, and sister, Linda. The Bensons said their ground is highly erodible and, coupled with a high water table, the gravel pit could cause problems with blowing sand and flooding.

The Bensons said other farmers in the neighborhood object to the gravel pit permit.

The Vontz land is near Interstate 80 and close to Imperial Avenue about two miles east of Kearney.

John Lowe, a businessman and state senator from Kearney, said he owns land near the Vontz property and the potential for a blinding sandstorm worries him.

“I’ve driven through some of those sandstorms on the way to Lincoln, so we have to keep a cover on that sand,” Lowe said.

Tuesday’s council meeting is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.