KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Following rumors of a suspected landfill in south Kansas City that caused public pushback for nearly eight months, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it has agreed to discuss the landfill plans with developers.
“A meeting has been requested and the Department has accepted the meeting offer to hear general information about the proposed development,” a spokesperson with Missouri’s DNR said in an email.
The department said the meeting does not fulfill any state solid waste regulatory steps and that no permit applications have been filed to the department as of yet.
The proposed location of the landfill is from 155th Street to 150 Highway and from Peterson Road to Horridge Road.
In the past three months, the city councils of Raymore, Lee’s Summit, Grandview, Belton, Jackson County, as well as the Lee’s Summit school board, have all passed resolutions opposing the landfill.
Last Thursday, Kansas City followed suit and voted on a six-month moratorium in opposition of any potential new landfills until an impact study can be completed in the proposed area.
Landfill complaints to Kansas City
FOX4 requested city communication among Kansas City, Missouri, staff related to the landfill, which revealed the city had received at least 40 emails in opposition to the landfill from Kansas City-area residents between October 2022 and January of this year.
This number does not account for complaints submitted to the city’s 3-1-1 resident’s hotline.
“I have lived in Raymore Missouri my entire life and I currently live six minutes from this proposed location,” one resident wrote in an email to Kansas City.
“This will significantly decrease the entire community’s quality of life.”
Among other concerns residents submitted include decreased property values, detrimental impacts on the environment, health-related concerns, and poor conditions for nearby schools and businesses.
“This will simply destroy all life, wildlife, food and water supply in this area,” another resident wrote in an email to Kansas City.
“Please keep this toxic waste area AWAY FROM your tax paying citizens.”
Email records detail KC’s response to rumored landfill
In August, the city of Raymore contacted Kansas City following complaints from Raymore residents that there had been blasting and huge rocks being removed from the ground and piled up, records obtained from the city of Raymore show.
Email records show Kansas City replied to Raymore, stating it had no knowledge of any potential landfill developments.
In October, the Raymore city attorney submitted a public records request to Kansas City seeking information on the rumored landfill. Kansas City maintained it had no knowledge or communication on the matter, records show.
Email communication in late October shows a grading permit was filed with Kansas City for the property “stating the applicant seeks to put in a pond,” Councilwoman Katrina Foster, District 6 at-large, said in an email.
But Foster indicated the permit made no mention of landfill plans.
“Staff will review and discuss the proposed plan with the applicant,” she said in an email. “They will also reach out to the engineer to determine if there are any additional plans on the property.”
In November, Raymore Mayor Kristofer Turnbow requested to meet with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on at least two occasions, though Lucas canceled the meetings both times, email records show.
Brian Platt, city manager of Kansas City, tagged Turnbow in a tweet the same month stating, “We aren’t doing a landfill anywhere in Kansas City.”
“Kansas City is aware of a recent statement regarding concern surrounding a hypothetical landfill development within city limits,” Sherae Honeycutt, press secretary of Kansas City, said in a statement. “The City is not part of any conversations regarding possible development of a landfill.”
Honeycutt maintained the city has not been formally approached about the project.
“There is no submission to the city for a project of this kind,” she said in a statement. “If a project were to be proposed in the future, it would have pass through a significant exploratory, development, and permitting process which would take years to develop.“
Records show Raymore contacted Kansas City, urging it to pass a resolution in opposition of the landfill, which Kansas City rejected on at least two occasions.
Turnbow said in an email he was appreciative of Congressman Mark Alford for facilitating a phone conference between Lucas, Turnbow and the congressman, “which did allow for an open dialogue regarding the pursuit of a resolution objecting to a landfill at the proposed site.”
Kansas City passed its resolution last week opposing all landfills until a study can be conducted.
“It (the phone call) also promoted regional conversation about the potential future need for a landfill,” Turnbow said in an email.
Alford spoke at a public hearing held in Raymore in February in which he confirmed he has Lucas’ assurances the site isn’t right for a landfill.
Missouri bill targets landfill buffer zone
In January, Rep. Mike Haffner R-Pleasant Hill introduced Missouri House Bill 909, which seeks to place a one-mile buffer between landfills and their neighboring communities. The bill would extend the buffer zone from one-half mile to one mile.
In February, Raymore’s city council unanimously approved Bill 3783 to invoke Missouri Statute 260.205(9) which opposes landfills located within one-half mile of an adjoining municipality without the approval of adjacent cities.
“It’s unsatisfactory to think that they are building not only a half mile away from a residential area but keep this in mind – within 3.5 miles, there are over 7,700 students in school buildings,” Haffner previously told FOX4. “This is the wrong location; it needs to be somewhere else.”
Though state and local agencies say no permits have been filed on the project, Raymore said homeowners in Cass and Jackson County are already experiencing the negative impacts.
Individuals seeking to sell their home, who live in close proximity to the project, are now required to disclose the potential landfill to buyers.
Keller Williams Platinum Partners, a real estate agency in Lee’s Summit, confirmed it requires buyers and sellers to sign a landfill disclosure form if the landfill is within a five-mile radius of the home.
“It would destroy our family, it would destroy property values in our community,” Clark Thomas, a Raymore resident, said. “It already has destroyed property values in our community.”
Realtor Kaleena Schumacher testified in a Jackson County landfill hearing in February that she’s unable to sell a home for a client because of the disclosure of a landfill that might not even happen.
For homeowners wanting out, it appears it may be difficult.
“We speak about it every night at the dinner table, ‘How do we move our family again? How do we sell our property at the value we could have sold it last year?’” Thomas said.
“I don’t know the answer to that; it’s a huge concern.”