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Raymore Approves Deal Designed to Kill Kansas City Landfill Deal Would Pay Developers $3.73 Million to Abandon Proposal in South Kansas City

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Above image credit: A sign just outside Creekmoor, a golf course subdivision in Raymore, implores drivers to stop a proposed landfill less than a mile away. The Raymore City Council on Monday adopted legislation that would offer a payment to developers of the proposed landfill to abandon their plans for the site. (Allison Kite | Missouri Independent)
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A controversial landfill proposed for south Kansas City is likely dead after approval of a deal developers struck with a suburban municipality that has been fighting to kill the project. 

The Raymore City Council voted unanimously Monday for an ordinance setting out the terms for  a settlement that would pay developers of the proposed landfill $3.73 million to scrap their project, including $440,000 for Raymore to acquire one of the developers’ 12-acre parcels. 

The agreement is contingent on the developers halting efforts to build the landfill, agreeing to impose restrictive use covenants on the property they’ve acquired and dropping their fight against state legislation drafted to kill the project.

“I have seen firsthand the anguish that our residents have gone through for more than a year and a half of fighting this battle,” Raymore Mayor Kris Turnbow said just before the vote. “And I don’t believe there’s any price on the long term health, safety and well being of our community.” 

Developers of the project, KC Recycle & Waste Solutions, declined to comment through a spokeswoman. 

KC Recycle & Waste Solutions — run by Jennifer Monheiser — proposed the 270-acre landfill just south of Missouri Highway 150 in Kansas City. It’s less than a mile from the Creekmoor golf course community, located in Raymore, with homes priced as high as $1 million. 

When the landfill plan became public, Raymore and several other Kansas City suburbs banded together in opposition saying the dump would harm their communities. 

Monday night’s city council vote represented a huge victory for those who have been fighting for more than a year to prevent the landfill from moving in. 

Under current law, if a landfill is built in Kansas City within half a mile of its boundary with another municipality, the adjacent city can approve or deny the project. The Monheisers’ project, however, would have been between half a mile and one mile from Kansas City’s boundary with Raymore. 

Raymore, along with nearby Kansas City suburbs and individuals, have pushed legislation at the Missouri Statehouse that would increase that buffer zone to one mile. 

Monheiser has fought back against those legislative efforts to kill her project, hiring close to 20 lobbyists and donating to Missouri lawmakers’ campaigns. 

One of several identical bills that would increase the buffer zone cleared the Missouri House in March and has passed a Senate committee, but has not yet been heard on the Senate floor. Another version came up in the Senate earlier this month, but lawmakers from outside the Kansas City area launched an hours-long filibuster, shutting down the chamber. The same thing happened last year.

After efforts to kill the project via state legislation failed last year, critics formed Kill The Fill, a political action committee that has raised money through small dollar donations, a golf tournament and bourbon tasting. The PAC hired a lobbying firm run by Steve Tilley, a veteran Jefferson City lobbyist with ties to Gov. Mike Parson, and has paid the firm $46,500 for lobbying and public relations since October. 

The PAC’s founder, Jennifer Phanton, said in a statement the group was happy with the outcome. 

“We’re grateful for Mayor Turnbow and the City of Raymore’s efforts on this,” she said. “Our group’s focus remains on passing legislation, and we’ll have more to say when that time comes.”

Allison Kite is a data reporter for the Missouri Independent, where this story first appeared, with a focus on the environment and agriculture.

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