We moved in 2018 to Castle Drive on the high ground overlooking the Little Blue valley where the Van Trust project is proposed. We are in proximity, but do not adjoin the subject project per se. However, we would adjoin the air, noise and light pollution effects of such a project. It is our opinion that such a project would have a detrimental impact on residential prices in all the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

I have no “dog in the hunt” in opposition to the commercial use of the property. I am for economic development, and this project has great merit, but farther east near Highway 7 and Lake City, where city zoning already envisions such development – away from residences (although I am not sure the proposed tax-dollar incentives are warranted in this fantastic economic market).

We moved here with the knowledge the subject property would be commercially developed. However, the zoning was for a business park setting off of a parkway which envisioned smaller facilities/buildings in a green-like setting and not a rezoned massive ugly warehouse/distribution docking facility. As well, there were to be buffer zones.

The Planning Commission listened to concerns on Oct. 19 and did its job by denying approval of the rezoning. However, it is rather clear there is a majority of the City Council that is ready to overreach/overturn the findings of the commission. So why do we even have that commission? Further, the council voted not to allow the public to address their concerns within their meetings. You would think the recent KCMO voting debacle over street naming without public input would ring a bell here. Evidently our mayor and council do not learn from others’ mistakes.

The proposed project will result in large increases in tractor-trailer traffic on Little Blue Parkway, Jackson Drive and potentially R.D. Mize Road, causing excessive traffic and accelerated deterioration of these asphalt-base roads. If the proposed facility moves forward despite the opposition, I would hope the council imposes a requirement that no vehicle greater than two tons be allowed on Jackson or R.D. Mize (grandfather existing small businesses) nearest residential development.

Concerns:

• Air pollution. You do not shut down a diesel engine unless you are going to be down several hours. In winter months, you do not shut them down at all. Fumes from the many dozens of diesel trucks at the proposed facility will waft around the Little Blue valley floor and breezes will push it into the residential neighborhoods. This is a health hazard. As a concession, I would hope the city would impose a mandatory requirement to shut down vehicles once parked.

• Noise pollution. As I’ve had experience with heavy equipment and tractor-trailers, I know that their movement and backing/docking create their own kind of noises. Many dozens of tractor-trailers moving around the facility 24/7 will create relentless noises. This is a good reason zoning exists – protection of the property values and well-being of residents (residential neighbors). If the proposed facility moves forward despite the opposition, I hope the council imposes a requirement that sound-reducing installations be made onto the facility, as well as planting of large (as in use a crane), fast-growing evergreen trees around the perimeter to reduce noise pollution.

• Light pollution. The size of this proposed facility will require significant lighting to accommodate 24/7 operations. The amount of light will be extremely evident beyond just the surrounding residential neighborhoods. If the proposed facility moves forward despite the opposition, I would hope the council imposes a requirement that low-intensity lighting with shrouds be used to keep the light level acceptable. Towns around astronomical observatories require specialized light installations to keep light pollution diffused and to a minimum.

Scott and Traci Wehner live in Independence.