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The Rundown – City hears pitch for South Kansas development

Post Date:11/29/2017 3:35 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. Nov. 28, 2017, Newton City Commission meeting

At work session before Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission heard a proposal from representatives of Occidental Management for a possible commercial development on South Kansas Avenue.

For several years Occidental has planned a four-phase development on 77 acres on South Kansas, south of Walmart. The first phase would consist of big-box and smaller retail pad sites fronting South Kansas, with future phases to include an office complex, senior living units, and multi-family housing to the west. Occidental President Chad Stafford said the proposed development has generated a lot of interest from retailers and other businesses.

Negotiations between Occidental and the City since 2013 have not yielded a development agreement. Occidental’s previous proposals requested a large upfront investment by the City, which the City declined.

On Tuesday, Stafford presented a new financing proposal in which all site development costs, including public infrastructure like roads and utilities, would be financed upfront by the developer. The developer would then recoup the public infrastructure costs over time through a portion of the new sales and property taxes generated on the site, similar to a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. The City would be responsible only for improvements to South Kansas Avenue, which would include two new signalized intersections.

City Commissioners thanked Occidental for coming to present the project. City staff will work on analysis of the new proposal and bring back a recommendation to the Commission.

Community recognition

Later Tuesday, the Commission recognized Newton High School athletes and teams who qualified for State competitions, as well as Santa Fe teacher Megan Nagel, who was one of eight finalists for Kansas Teacher of the Year.

The Commission also recognized Newton Medical Center, which has received a number of recent awards and honors for its excellence and innovations in patient care.

Lawsuit settlement

The Commission also approved a settlement with Pilot International Inc. of a lawsuit alleging that an airplane housed at Newton City/County Airport was damaged in 2015 while being moved by City employees. The lawsuit claimed damages of $2,305.36 and reduction of the plane’s value in excess of $75,000. A counterclaim by the City requested $13,996.86 in past due rent and fuel charges by Pilot International.

Under the settlement, the City’s insurance carrier will submit a payment of $15,000 to Pilot, and Pilot will then make a payment of $9,500 to the City for the rent and fuel charges, with the City forgiving the remainder. The City is responsible for paying a $2,500 deductible to its insurance carrier.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Appointed Libby Albers to the Historic Preservation Commission.
  2. Adopted ordinances regulating use of the public right-of-way and sidewalk construction.
  3. Received a report from Grand Central, Newton’s senior center, on its financial and operational plan.
  4. Received a report on continued development of the Community Paramedicine partnership between Newton Fire/EMS and Newton Medical Center.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or

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