by Alan McArthur
Kansas City Sand & Gravel, L.L.C., is proposing a new "mining" operation in Platte County in the river bottom near Waldron. Some residents in the area are resisting the proposal.
The proposed operation would be in the Missouri River bottom along Moore’s Ferry Road on approximately 1,400 acres currently owned by the JoDill Corp.
The company currently owns acreage on the east side of Kansas City near 291 south of Liberty for a similar operation.
“There are a number of issues to be resolved first,” said Douglas Baker, Kansas City Sand & Gravel attorney. “We have meetings scheduled with Planning and Zoning and the Department of Transportation this week. We also have meetings scheduled with property owners to try to work something out.”
At a recent meeting between the company owner Dave Penny and area residents of Farley and Waldron, some residents expressed concern over the project.
“A lot of people live out here and some are starting to call this ‘a recipe for death for Platte County,’” said Colleen Acord, Waldron postmaster. “Platte County would be negligent to let this go forward.”
In order to address some concerns by citizens, Kansas City Sand & Gravel worked with the Missouri Department of Transportation, (MoDOT) to conduct a traffic study and determine whether road improvements were needed.
“One of the purposes for the meeting with the Department of Transportation is to discuss what options are available,” said Baker. “The traffic study recommended adding a turn lane to improve safety.”
According to the traffic study, there will be approximately 160 trucks entering and leaving the area during a 12-hour period from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This number equals about seven inbound trucks and seven outbound trucks in an hour.
The study also calls for the building of turn lanes at the intersection of Highway 45 and River Road, as well as turn lanes along River Road to Moore’s Ferry Road.
The JoDill Corp owns 1,393 acres of farmland in the valley near Waldron. According to Baker, Kansas City Sand & Gravel is considering purchasing all of the land for use in the operation.
Once the sand and gravel are mined out of the valley, the land will not be reclaimed as farmland again.
“The land will not be reclaimed for agriculture purposes,” said Baker. “It will leave one significant lake, approximately 300 acres.”
Kansas City Sand & Gravel then plans to use the mined area to create a lake for recreational purposes.
“We plan to make it into a recreational facility open to the public,” said Baker. “It could include a picnic area, swimming beach, rowing area, fishing, camping areas for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and ball fields. We are also talking with the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department to extend a picnic and trail area along the river.”
According to Baker, the land would be developed into a park area by Kansas City Sand & Gravel, and would be handed over to the county.
The Missouri River basin is a large deposit area of sand and gravel. The area near Waldron specifically has a large deposit and would take a substantial amount of time to mine. “There is a huge deposit of sand and gravel there,” said Baker. “It could take 40 to 50 years to complete the mining. However, within five years we could begin making the recreational areas available to the public.”
Some residents of Waldron had expressed concern for the agricultural levee system in the river bottom because of the mining operation.
“The Corps of Engineers has a mandated offset of 500 feet from the levee system for mining,” said Baker. “The actual lake will be at least 1/4 of a mile from the river.”
“The community will change,” said Acord. “We will be trapped in here like rats. It is simply horrible what they are proposing.”
In order to move forward with the proposed operation, the company will have to apply to the Platte County Planning and Zoning Department for a special use permit. The deadline for application for the next meeting is Dec. 10.
This would put the issue on the agenda for the second Tuesday of January.
Most sand and gravel in Missouri is dredged from the Missouri River, according to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. However, in recent years the Corps has been limiting the amount of sand removed from the river because of bed degradation by the river further down stream.
The bed degradation has been attributed to dredging operations in many areas and new limitations have reduced the amount extracted.
According to the Corps, because of strict guidelines from MoDOT for sand quality, the only high quality sand available is from the Missouri River. With this reduction, the best source available now is through mining operations.
“There are a number of compelling reasons this area needs this type of development,” said Baker.
Some residents planned to meet Tuesday night at the South Platte County Community Center in Parkville to further discuss the proposed operation.
According to county planning and zoning officials, there is one river-based dredging operation in the county, that being at Riverside.