To the editor:

On Dec. 28, the Clay County Commission will consider a request to strip the Natural Resource Conservation status of riverfront land next to Clay County Park for an 18-house development. Clay County’s Zoning Ordinance is clear: The NRC District was established to “preserve lands best suited for natural drainage, public open space, and agricultural uses from encroachment by incompatible uses [and] limit permanent structures and uses of land in areas subject to flooding, protect views, preserve natural settings for wildlife habitats, add to the aesthetic quality of the community, prevent the destruction or pollution of valuable and irreplaceable natural resources, and lessen urban density.”

Clearly, a large housing development, complete with yard lights and boat docks, built on highly-erodible soil immediately adjacent to Clay County Park, is incompatible with our well-designed zoning ordinance, and with Clay County’s Comprehensive Plan. But it is also incompatible with the public’s interest in continued enjoyment of the natural qualities of our only park, and of our unit of the National Park System, the Missouri National Recreational River, which incidentally, brings substantial money into Clay County through low-impact tourism.

How our public officials vote on this rezoning request will tell us whether they value the crown jewel of Clay County—the matchless marriage of Clay County Park and the Missouri National Recreational River—and whether they take our Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance seriously. The vote will also demonstrate which interests they prioritize, the private interests of would-be developers, or the public interests they have sworn to uphold.

Jerry Wilson

Clay County

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