UPDATE: May 16, 2018 @ 1:54 pm

A 5 minute warning siren sounded for the first blast.

UPDATE: May 16, 2018 @ 10:36 a.m.

“A correction to the time that I indicated yesterday as to when the first shot will occur. We anticipate it being earlier this afternoon. The seismograph will be available and the public will be able to monitor the the readings,” stated Bill Brown, spokesman for Star Exavation in an email to the Tribune.

By Leilani Haywood
Tribune Reporter

Despite opposition by residents near the site, Star Excavation will start using explosives Wednesday, May 16 at approximately 5 p.m. for a land reclamation project related to the Paragon Star development. Residents received letters notifying them of the blasts. Flip Short, the developer and owner of Star Excavation, received permission on May 9 to remove the restriction for using explosives on his permit from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to use explosives until 2034.

Click for the Star Excavation – Blasting Plan & Checklist – 05-14-18

Bill Brown, a spokesman for Star Excavation, said in an email to the Tribune, “There are two seismographs that have been installed to measure any impact of the use of explosives; one on each side of I-470. The website where seismographic information relative to the above use of explosives tomorrow and for future uses of same can be accessed at www.whiteseisclientdata.com.” The site does require a user name—star and a password—star2018. There are two stations available for viewing.

The City of Lee’s Summit is also setting up a meeting with the Bent Tree Bluff’s Homeowners Association. Sam Mahlstadt, vice president of the HOA, requested a meeting through LS City Manager Steve Arbo with Mayor Bill Baird, LS City Attorney Brian Head and LS Councilmembers Trish Carlyle and Craig Faith. Cheryl Nash, creative services manager for the City of Lee’s Summit, said in an email to the Tribune that a meeting date was set and the request sent to Mahlstadt.

Mahlstadt says the City of Lee’s Summit has the authority to change the ordinance that granted the permit for Star Excavation’s land reclamation project. Kathy Gravitt, a resident and homeowner near the site said, “The real problem is with the City of Lee’s Summit when they issued the ordinance for rock reclamation 4 years ago. The city did not protect their citizens that they are supposed to serve.”

Rianna Deselich, President of Unity Ridge POA in Kansas City lives less than one mile from the site at Pryor Road and Quarry Park Road. She said, “What a incredible sign of no respect and no protection by Star Excavations, LSMO and MDNR. Citizens have until June 7th to sign a petition and send it to the State asking for the ‘Formal Hearing’ in Jefferson City. Obviously, our opinions or concerns do not count, ‘ Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!’ How easy will it be to fight again blasting when they are blasting.” Deselich recommends calling or sending an email to LS Mayor Bill Baird and LS Councilmembers Trish Carlyle and Craig Faith.

Cindy Hammer, another homeowner near the site said, “If the member of the Lee’s Summit City Council or DNR wouldn’t want to live under these conditions, why is it ok for these residents?” Homeowners on Clifford Rd., Quarry Drive as well as Summerfield and Bent Tree Bluff are concerned about the impact of the blasts on the foundation and value of their properties.

Geologist Charles Spencer said that the City of Lee’s Summit is the only recourse the residents have to require monitoring of the blasting activity for their property. “The City of Lee’s Summit has failed miserably because they already approved the permit but put no requirements for monitoring the blasting activity. There is no requirement unless the property owners adjacent to the property ask the city to change the ordinance to add monitoring of the mine underneath their property.” Spencer was hired by a homeowner near the project to conduct a geological survey in 2013.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources held a hearing on March 28 at Legacy Touch. Residents expressed concern about the noise, pollution, lack of monitoring blast activity and impact on their property and businesses. “For the last four years we have lived in a war zone is no longer my dream for sure,” Gravitt, a resident on Clifford Road said at the hearing. “I regret the day we ever built the house of our dreams there.”

Star Excavation attempted to use an “auto-stem” blast between July 2017 and October 2017 that wasn’t classified as an explosive by the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) bureau. The blast was shut down after Star Excavation received notification from the ATF that auto-stem blasts were considered an explosive. Spencer said at the hearing, “In regard to autostem, the ATF classified it as an explosive as early as 2013. There is written documentation of that. It’s been in the federal register since 2014 which published nitrocellulose explosives as a regulated explosive. So it is known as an explosive long before 2017 by the ATF.”

Although monitoring of seismic activity will take place near I-470, residents don’t believe that will help monitor the impact on their homes and property. According to Star Excavation’s Blasting Plan & Checklist, “The Blasting Contractor shall offer to conduct pre-blast surveys of each uncontrolled structure located within a scaled distance of 35 from the Blast Site, as required by the Act, when authorized by the property owner to conduct such survey. A request for a pre-blast survey by any property owner outside the requirements of the Act shall be evaluated and may or may not be granted. Pre-blasting inspections will be conducted by a qualified, third party and will include written, photographic or video documentation of the physical conditions of each structure and facility. The owner may be asked to sign and date any written log that would accompany the photo or video record.”