With numerous concerns, Leavenworth County residents protesting proposed sand quarry

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DE SOTO, Kan. — Communities in Leavenworth County are banding together to fight a proposed sand quarry.

If approved, the sand mine would be built just outside DeSoto near 166th Street and Lenape Road.

Neighbors have a long list of concerns and are now actively trying to stop the quarry from being built.

The swing of a golf club and a few passing cars are just about the only sounds you’ll hear passing along 166th Street just outside DeSoto. It’s the reason many people move to the area, for peace and quiet away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

“It’s a beautiful area. It’s hilly and wooded. It’s quiet — it’s been quiet, anyway,” said Kris VanMeteren, who lives near the proposed quarry.

Neighbors fear that calm will be stripped away if Leavenworth County approves plans for a sand quarry encompassing more than 220 acres. The site butts up to Burning Tree Golf Course and the Kansas River.

“I just cried because it affects a whole lot of people,” said Stephanie Swenson, general manager of Burning Tree Golf Course.

Plans submitted to the county show the Kaw Valley Quarry would have at least 15 trucks an hour coming and going, roughly 150 a day, passing down a narrow two-lane road with little shoulder.

“It’s going to be extremely dangerous,” Swenson said.

Swenson knows the dangers of heavy truck traffic firsthand. Less than two years ago, her Jeep was t-boned by a dump truck. She nearly died, and now has permanent brain damage.

“When they said these dump trucks were going to be coming out of there, it was just like that whole horror came back to me because that day was devastating,” Swenson said.

According to county reports, on top of traffic concerns, the sand quarry comes with potential impacts to water supply, air quality and nature.

Kris VanMeteren is also convinced the development would plummet property values in a growing area.

“They’re going to ruin that if they convert the kind of growth we’re currently experiencing over to industrial growth. People don’t want to build or live next to heavy machinery running at all hours of the day or night,” VanMeteren said.

The company proposing the sand quarry, Kaw Valley, didn’t respond to FOX4’s requests for comment.

Concerned neighbors have a Facebook page to discuss the project called “It’s the Pits.” They’re also hosting an informational meeting at 6 p.m. June 25 at Harrington’s Event Center in Bonner Springs.

The Leavenworth County Planning Commission is expected to consider how to proceed with the proposal at its July 10 meeting.

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