To the editor:

As residents of southern Leavenworth County, an area of which is of particular interest to the Board of County Commissioners on a frequent basis, we would like to bring several important factors to light that should be considered when making impactful, sometimes life-changing and detrimental decisions on our behalf.

Along with approximately 30 other residents, we attended a recent Planning and Zoning meeting where the potential re-zoning of property along and near County Road 1, just south of Tonganoxie, was discussed. Of the 10 residents who spoke, none of them were in favor of re-zoning. However, at the end of the meeting, the Planning and Zoning committee unanimously voted in favor of re-zoning.

Following this meeting, which seemed to be a colossal waste of our time, several questions came to mind:

1. Why would residents continue to attend these “open” meetings if their concerns aren’t considered and their voices aren’t heard?

2. Why would the Planning and Zoning committee unanimously vote in favor of something for which every resident who spoke was opposed?

3. And finally, and maybe most importantly, why don’t our elected officials care about and pay heed to what matters most to their constituents?

At its very core, the issue is that, according to the Planning and Zoning committee, there is no business or industry that is interested in any of the property at this time, and while planning is important, it should take into consideration what the current landowners need in order to continue to pay taxes, the very taxes that increase every year. As it stands now, if the property around us is rezoned as mixed-use according to the consultants’ proposal, we could have residential areas surrounding our land. If a child crosses into our property and is injured by a bull, it becomes our liability and our burden. If we plow or harvest the fields at night, which often happens on a farm, the sound pollution is a problem for residents. If County Road 1 becomes a haven for industry, businesses and multi-family residences, it will be increasingly difficult for us to use the road to get from field to field with combines, tractors and grain trucks with the increased traffic. This also means it becomes more dangerous for others as well. With the Kansas Turnpike Authority’s installation of the interchange on County Road 1, we have seen an incredible increase in traffic already.

Leavenworth County has been home to six generations of our family and we hope it will continue for many generations to come, but we also hope that our elected officials truly represent our families’ needs and hopes for the future instead of making disconnected, self-serving and dangerous decisions that affect those of us who depend on them to make sound decisions.