Camden County Commission Meeting January Double Header

I attended two Camden County Commission meetings last week.

The first one was held on January 17, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mid-County Fire District Headquarters. Commissioners Skelton and Gohagan were present. The room was filled with the elected officials of Camden County.

The agenda item for this meeting was the Budget Approval.

Presiding Commissioner Skelton mentioned that all of the county departments had been asked to freeze their budgets so more money could be allocated to the Road and Bridge Department.

None of the elected officials wished to comment on the 2023 budget.

The budget was approved by the Commission 2-0.

Presiding Commissioner Skelton then proposed cancelling the closed session scheduled after the open meeting. He said that the purpose of that closed session was to get Commissioner Williams up to date on an issue. Since Commissioner Williams was not present, he felt there was no point in having the closed session.

And that was that.

I then attended the Camden County Commission meeting on January 19, 2023.

This was a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting so it was held at the Camden County Developmental Disability Resources Building.

All three commissioners were present. There were about 25 people present besides the Camden County employees who normally attend.

The first agenda item was THB Development Re-Zone R-1 to B-2. This was old business and the re-zone applicant was not able to attend the meeting. He had requested that the meeting be tabled which was probably annoying for all of the residents who took the time to make it to the meeting. The Commission tabled this agenda item until February.

The second agenda item was Hurricane Deck Holdings Re-Zone R-1 to R-2.

The applicant for this re-zone request was Zane Williams. The company owns multiple lots and is requesting a re-zone so they can build 15 duplex units (30 residences total). Each duplex will be 3,600 square feet divided equally as two 1,800 square foot homes. They plan to build one unit initially and see how things go. Higher construction costs have made it difficult to make money building single family homes, so they’re hoping that the reduced cost of constructing duplexes can ensure they can make a profit. Williams mentioned that he lives near the proposed development and they plan to connect the new duplexes into the existing sewer and water system.

There were quite a few citizens present to oppose this re-zone. I’ll summarize their concerns.

One gentleman was worried that the new development would exceed the capacity of the existing water and sewer system. Apparently, the existing system has issues already. I could swear that he said one of the existing homes has a manhole in its garage (What?!?).

Most of the residents purchased their properties knowing that the surrounding properties were zoned R-1. They felt that it would reduce their property values and have a negative impact on their quality of life to suddenly be surrounded by properties that were zoned as R-2.

Several people also mentioned that the extra homes would increase the heavy traffic on their already dangerous access road.

There was also a citizen who said she represented a group that is opposed to excessive development on the west side of Camden County. She felt that an increase in commercial projects and multi-family housing properties was detrimental to the current way of life on the west side of the lake.

Presiding Commissioner Skelton stated that Camden County’s current Master Plan is 20 years old. The Commission has plans to develop a new one.

Commissioner Williams mentioned that there has always been a trend of people moving to the lake and then slamming the door behind them. He cautioned that development is going to continue whether we like it or not. He asked how long the property owners should have to wait to make money off of their property? They’ve owned it for 33 years.

Commissioner Gohagan asked about the capacity of the existing sewer system. Williams responded that he thought the sewer system would actually be able to improve its capacity as its service district and customer base increased in size.

Commissioner Williams made a motion to approve the re-zone from R-1 to R-2. This was approved unanimously.

The third agenda item was Camelot Sewer (PWSD #3).

This district received ARPA money from Camden County to help them apply for a Missouri DNR ARPA water improvement grant, but they were unable to submit their application in time before the process was closed.

The district has two wells that operate independently. Tower 1 is the oldest and it currently has a water loss of just under 50%. Tower 2 has a 27% water loss and contains a lot of iron. Their top priority is replacing the line work in Tower 1. According to their Drinking Water Operator, losing water from the wells isn’t just inefficient, it also is a waste of the chlorine that was used to treat the water.

The district was hoping they could use the ARPA funds that were committed by the Commission to them for the DNR grant to help pay for these repairs instead.

The Commission voted unanimously to table this item.

The fourth agenda item was for a road vacation order.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t catch what this item was about because I was busy asking the Camelot Sewer District folks some questions. People have a tendency to run out of the meetings once their business is finished and I have to corner them before they can escape. It’s not easy being a Gadfly.

The fifth agenda item was Planning Commission appointments for Robert Hemen and Ray Waltman.

Waltman was approved unanimously.

Hemen was approved 2-0 with Commissioner Williams abstaining. Williams didn’t express any objections, but said he was abstaining because Hemen does not get along with a friend of Commissioner Williams. Yup. Welcome to county politics.

The sixth agenda item was Sewer Board re-appointments.

These appointments are for 5 year terms.

Randy Stauch, Tom Schlatter, and Fred Good were all appointed unanimously to the Sewer Board.

And that was that.

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