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After Raymore deal, Missouri Senate passes bill to block controversial KC landfill

In World
April 19, 2024

After a deal was struck in Raymore, the Missouri Senate late Wednesday broke a yearlong gridlock and passed a bill intended to block a controversial landfill proposed in south Kansas City.

The bill, filed by Sen. Mike Cierpiot, a Lee’s Summit Republican, would give communities within a mile of the proposed landfill the power to veto it. The current buffer is half a mile, which gives surrounding cities little sway over the project.

Wednesday’s vote came two days after Raymore approved a settlement intended to kill the divisive landfill. The deal, which sends more than $3 million to the developers of the project, was contingent on lawmakers passing the legislation.

“All the parties that were involved are satisfied with the agreement,” Cierpiot said Wednesday evening. “It’s a way to put this to rest I hope.”

The proposed landfill has roiled the Missouri Capitol for the past two sessions as residents in nearby Raymore, Grandview, Belton and Lee’s Summit argued it posed risks to their health and property values. Critics created a political action committee and hired several lobbyists to encourage Missouri lawmakers to pass the bill.

The landfill project was spearheaded by Jennifer Monheiser, a local businesswoman with KC Recycle & Waste Solutions, which hired 19 lobbyists since last year to oppose the legislation.

The landfill’s proposed site would have been near the high-end Creekmoor golf course community, bordering 147th Street to the north, Horridge Road to the east, 155th Street to the south and Peterson Road to the west.

Monheiser, in a statement on Thursday, said she was “hopeful that the Governor signs the legislation that will be sent to his desk so that all parties can move forward.”

“We will have more to say in the coming weeks about plans for the future, but for now, we’re happy to have an agreement that closes this chapter,” she said.

The deal struck in Raymore this week appeared to ease concerns from a slew of Missouri lawmakers who had spent the past two sessions blocking the legislation from coming to a vote. The senators, who were from outside the Kansas City-area, argued the bill infringed on the developers’ property rights.

Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, an Arnold Republican running for Missouri secretary of state, was one of the bill’s most outspoken critics. Coleman voted against the legislation on Wednesday but ultimately let it come to a vote.

Coleman spent hours earlier this month chewing up floor time by reading aloud “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

“It’s been a long journey to this night,” said Sen. Greg Razer, a Kansas City Democrat whose district would have included the proposed landfill.

“I struggled with this for a while and finally just the rights of the folks living in their homes just outweighed the alternatives in my mind,” said Razer, who supported the legislation. “That was the final decision for me.”

Wednesday’s vote, however, was not the last time the issue will come up in the Capitol. The bill still has to clear the Missouri House and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Parson for the Raymore deal to take effect.

House Majority Leader Jonathan Patterson, a Lee’s Summit Republican, said in a statement on Thursday that he was glad “the two parties have reached a satisfactory compromise.”

Patterson said he would bring the bill to the House floor early next week.

“I expect it to pass with broad support,” he said.

Per the settlement agreement, Raymore would send $3.3 million to the developers of the project. The developers would also agree to sell a piece of the property to Raymore for $440,000 that the city has long wanted to help develop into a northern access point into the city.

In turn, the city will place restrictive covenants on the site of the proposed landfill, preventing the land from being developed into a landfill.

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