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Sand quarry proposal brings concerns for De Soto golf course

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 20:01:11-04

DE SOTO, Kan. — A proposal to build a 224-acre sand quarry continues to bring concerns to a nearby golf club that says construction and mining at the site could drive away golfers and ruin the experience of playing the sport at the course.

Burning Tree Golf Course was built in 2001 and now has around 400 members.

However, general manager Stephanie Swenson told 41 Action News that she is worried about its future due to the proposed project.

“This golf course is my whole entire life, and it means everything to me,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of work and construction and it’s not something I’m looking forward to.”

Kaw Valley Companies is behind the project. A county agenda said the proposed sand quarry could dredge around 4,000 tons of sand every day near the Kansas River.

For now, the site of the project near 166th Street and Lenape Road is home to acres of farmland and weeds.

However, with construction possibly taking place right next door to the golf course, Swenson said the project could cause multiple issues.

“A constant noise of equipment and diesels backing up will be disturbing,” she said. “If I stand on my tee box and I have that noise going on, it disturbs the golfer.”

According to the county agenda, construction will lead to the following noise levels:

  • 97.3 dBA at the center of the operations;
  • 85.2 dBA 200 feet from the site;
  • 68.8 dBA a quarter-mile away;
  • 62.8 dBA a half-mile away.

The report noted that the typical noise level of a normal conversation is around 60 dBA.

Aside from possible noise issues with the project, Swenson said the construction could lead to increased traffic on the local roads.

“If we have trucks leaving every two and a half minutes, then we’re going to have it backed up a long ways,” she said.

The golf course general manager also worries that the sand quarry could impact wildlife that live in the area along the Kansas River.

Kaw Valley Companies did not respond to multiple requests for comment from 41 Action News on Monday.

However, the county agenda noted that possible steps could taken to address concerns at the site.

In regards to noise levels, the report said electric dredging equipment could be used and trees could be added near the border with the golf course to mitigate sound from the project.

Despite the possible assistance, Swenson doubted it would help the area.

“Whatever sound they put out is going to come right on the property because there’s nothing to stop it,” she said.

The Leavenworth County Planning Commission plans to address the matter during a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

In the meantime, Swenson has been handing out special flyers to golfers to encourage them to help protect the experience of golfing at Burning Tree.

“We’re going to step up to the plate and fight for what’s right,” she said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of golfers that will be very disappointed if this goes in.”