To the editor:

It is necessary to correct the Minutes of the May 25 meeting of the Clay County Commission. Richard Schoellerman and Larry Brady requested and were granted a Variance from Clay County Ordinance to build a large house at the Ponderosa development, closer to the Missouri River than the Ordinance allows.

Following the devastating flooding of 2011, the Clay County Commission wisely increased the required setback from the river from 75 feet to 125 feet. In addition, much of the lot in question is within the federally-designated floodplain.

When one commissioner asked why the setback was increased after the flood, Chairman Travis Mockler stated that “the Living River Group asked for it,” and the change was “a knee-jerk reaction, and it should probably go back to 75 feet.”

Beyond the short-sighted notion that we should ignore the lessons of the 2011 flood, which whittled away much river frontage and threatened many homes, Mr. Mockler’s version of history is simply not accurate. Here are the facts:

The Missouri River not only remains wild and untamed; it is also part of America’s national park system, the Missouri National Recreational River—the gem of Clay County. The ideal of the National Park Service would be a 250-foot setback, not only to protect property from flooding, but to serve the recreational interests of the public. But park officials realized that that would not be feasible here, since numerous homes already lined the river.

Thus, in a 2012 review of the Clay County Ordinance, a committee of Clay County Commissioners and Clay County Planning Commissioners settled on increasing the setback for future homes to 125 feet. That recommendation was approved unanimously by the Clay County Commission on June 4, 2013. Commissioner Mockler voted to approve the change.

To protect both river home owners and the interests of the river-loving public, any attempt to forget history and throw out wise rules should be defeated.

Jerry Wilson

Vermillion

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