By Kalie Hudson 
Of Powell Gardens

January 29, 2019, Kingsville, Mo. – A Jackson County Circuit Court Judge has granted Powell Gardens’ request for a preliminary injunction effectively halting the expansion of Valley Oaks Steak Company’s confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) until full resolution of the civil case. This order forces Valley Oaks Steak Company to reduce the size of their operation from 6,999 head to fewer than 999 head of cattle. The permit for the expansion, granted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, under the direction of Director, Carol Comer, has been largely contested by Powell Gardens and area residents due to the impact the operation will have on air-quality and the environment.

“Powell Gardens and the surrounding community are grateful for this favorable ruling,” says Tabitha Schmidt, CEO and president. “This confirms that our concerns are valid and that the Valley Oaks expansion would have a negative effect in the area.”

This is the second time in recent months that Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Del Murro has ruled in agreement with Powell Gardens regarding the potentially harmful effects the expansion of this operation could have on the community’s environment. These rulings follow a December decision by the Missouri Clean Water Commission to reverse the original permit approval by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

“The Judge made the right decision based on the facts and the law,” says Chuck Hatfield, a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. “Missouri’s nuisance law is a good neighbor law. Valley Oaks is not a good neighbor and they are interfering with the rights of others. The law is there to protect people like our clients.”

Last spring, Powell Gardens’ concerns over the expansion were voiced along with nearly 1,400 petitioners from Lone Jack and the surrounding community. Concerns included environmental and human health concerns related to water quality, air pollution, as well as increased traffic, strain on infrastructure and declining property values.

Valley Oaks has submitted a new permit application with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and awaits a decision. Counsel for Valley Oaks and Powell Gardens will meet with the Jackson County Circuit Court judge on February 8 to set a date for the civil trial to begin.

Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is located on 970 acres of lush, rolling hills just east of Kansas City. Known for its world-class architecture and stunning display gardens, Powell Gardens attracts nearly 100,000 visitors per year and offers classes, performances and festivals year-round. In 2009, the Heartland Harvest Garden, a 12-acre expansion that encompasses the Nation’s largest edible landscape, opened to the public.



  • Jim

    February 4, 2019 - 7:45 am

    Just another political decision made by a judge. Not a decision based on facts

    • Karen

      February 4, 2019 - 5:26 pm

      Jim, I beg to differ. Both sides were given an equalopportunity to present expert testimony. The Administrative Hearing Commission in Jefferson City, the Clean Water Commission in Jackson County and now the judge in Jackson County have listened to those facts and found multiple discrepancies and errors in calculations in manure storage and even Valley Oaks stating in their permit application that they have permission to spread manure on land that the land owners have sworn in court documents they never gave that permission to them. They have estimated a yield of 6 tons of cool season grasses on the fields they are applying manure to. The state average is approximately 2 tons per acre. Our expert could find no documentation of any land in Missouri ever having yields near 6 tons. Neither Valley Oaks nor the DNR could provide documentation showing that 6 tons is an attainable goal. Before you make a blanket statement like you did, you should have the facts to back it up.

  • Jo Anna

    February 4, 2019 - 9:29 am

    I can completely understand why the Community wants to stop this.

    Back in late 60’s early 70’s there was a slaughter house at 3rd / outer road Blue parkway right across from Lee’s Summit Clinic.

    They even set up housing from employees. Houses moved up the outer road on Blue Parkway in 700 block.

    Damn it smelled. You could go swimming at the old White Ridge swim pool and smell it with a good wind. Horrible.

    I think these people are right to stand up on this.

  • Jerry

    February 4, 2019 - 12:44 pm

    A Jackson County judge ruling on a business in an unzoned Johnson County . Sounds like this is a long way from over.

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