A proposed bed and breakfast and event facility near Camden Point is dividing the community, even after its approval last month by the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission.
The 40-acre property located at 16015 Highway E already contains a home and barn, which David Holland hopes to transform into an agri-tourism business. The approximately 4,200 square foot, three bedroom home would be turned into a bed and breakfast and the barn into an event space able to host weddings and other functions. The special use application was submitted to Platte County Planning and Zoning late last year, with county staff recommending approval by the commission.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the application at the Tuesday, Jan. 8 meeting, but not before hearing from residents both opposed to and in support of the proposal.
Planning and zoning staff say while the opposition has requested paperwork for a formal appeal, as of Monday, Feb. 4 no appeal had been received.
Those opposed to the facility have concerns about increased traffic on Highway E, noise pollution, negative impact on property values, invasion of privacy and liability. A petition with 121 signatures of area residents opposed to the application was received by planning and zoning, as were dozens of emails of neighbors in support.
Nearby resident Renee Winkler said in her letter to the commission that she had tried to obtain a similar permit in the same area two years ago and it was denied. She saw no reason the new permit should be approved, as neighbors had the same concerns with her proposal and her property had been better located for a bed and breakfast operation.
For Earl and Sylvia Anderson, the facility would be right across the street.
“The request by Rhb Properties has turned our peaceful community into a battleground as we try to protect our neighborhood from property devaluation by out-of-town investors,” the Andersons wrote.
They argued that events held in the barn could cause disruptions to nearby residents and that such a use is not “agritourism.” There are already 10 wedding venues within 16 miles they said, and the new property owners are not Platte County residents.
Marcia Hankins of Platte City also cited this as a concern.
“These folks came to Platte County because property was cheaper than it was in Clay County,” Hankins said. “Is that how you intend to plan for the county? Bargain basement prices to draw everyone with a dream? Some folks believe our opposition is about slowing progress, but the truth has everything to do with safety, traffic and noise pollution.”
Dearborn alderman Breanna Cheadle also weighed in on the discussion, but she stands in favor of the application. She lives near an existing wedding venue and said she has not noticed any real increase in traffic from it. She refutes several of the claims of the opposition, stating it’s doubtful noise pollution would be a concern due to the relative isolation of the structures on the property. She noted that a successful venue would bring financial benefits to the area.
“While the city of Camden Point itself may not benefit directly from any tax money on this venue due to being located outside of city limits, it’s very clear that other aspects in the community and county will,” Cheadle said. “The biggest will be the (North Platte) school district.”
She said while she understands the desire of small town residents to maintain a small town atmosphere, Camden Point, Dearborn and other small communities must continue to grow or risk dying out.
“Camden Point is a part of our school district, and our school district is what ties us all together,” Cheadle said. “I firmly believe it is imperative that while we (meaning the towns of Dearborn, Edgerton and Camden Point) have different zip codes and and a few miles of space in between, it is important to look at the benefits of the ties that bind us all together.”
Lifelong Camden Point resident Kathy James also wrote a letter of support, stating she believes the applicants are responsible and have reacted appropriately to the opposition.
“I’m a senior citizen and don’t understand the mindset of the people opposing this venue that would breathe new life into our community plus pay taxes and licensing fees to Platte County,” James said. “It is my belief that the opponents are relative newcomers to our community and don’t have our small communities’ best interest at heart.”