Everyone in the state capitol has heard of our plight regarding a proposed landfill in Kansas City. The potential project site is across the street from Summit Pointe Elementary School, Kansas City Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, and a short distance from my home in Cass County.
Inside the city limits (but close to the edge) of the City of Kansas City, the landfill would be in a strange spot when it comes to its extreme proximity to homes, subdivisions, schools, churches, adjacent municipalities, and more.
The Cass County Commission, along with several local governments, has unanimously passed resolutions opposing the landfill. We realize Kansas City’s trash must go somewhere, but a densely populated residential area next to large neighborhoods on Cass County’s front porch is not an appropriate site for the proposed facility. Thankfully, the City of Raymore has been very aggressive in organizing opposition and establishing a website that tracks all the progress of our fight to protect our neighbors.
It is also worth noting that State Rep. Mike Haffner has worked tirelessly in the state capitol, fighting to change the law to give local communities that border Kansas City the ability to create an additional one-half mile buffer between their city limits and new landfills. This small change is being worked against by some of Jefferson City’s best and brightest lobbyists.
Fortunately, this landfill has not started yet, and it is still closer to an idea than implementation. The land required for its construction has not yet been acquired. The area is still zoned residential and neither Kansas City nor the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have received applications for rezoning or permitting of the potential project.
Unfortunately, the homeowners and property owners are already feeling the negative impact on the local economy from the proposed landfill. Realtors are already having to sign landfill disclosures stating they are aware of the project. Homebuilders have walked away from local construction projects. These are not good signs for our local property values and the quality of life for tens of thousands of people.
Proponents of the landfill say that the project is well underway and that the developers are being unfairly targeted. That is not true, and it is disingenuous to say the proposed landfill is too far along to be stopped.
This area is, and has been, a residential community for quite some time. It is home to a great many neighborhoods that are full of families. It is zoned residential, and the desire of the developers to abruptly change the rules on the use of this land for tens of thousands of my constituents would have a disastrous effect on our people, their homes, northern Cass County, and our friends in southern Jackson County.
This is neither the time nor place for this proposed landfill. The developers and their allies need to stop attacking the property rights of our people and figure out a better business model. Preferably, one that does not do so much harm to so many people.
Ryan Johnson is the Commissioner for District 2 of Cass County, MO.