Jason Dampier's application for rezoning of a portion of the old Bayview Golf Course drew heavy opposition from neighbors at the September 18 meeting of the Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Jason Dampier’s application for rezoning of a portion of the old Bayview Golf Course drew heavy opposition from neighbors at the September 18 meeting of the Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission. Baywater Golf has been closed for and sitting fallow for many years. Now utilized by wildlife, the land provides a green space for neighboring homes.

Commission Chair Jacob Neusche explained to the mostly packed chamber that this item consisted only of the rezoning request and the applicant would have to return with detailed plats meeting all county codes as well as water and sewer solutions meeting both Missouri State regulations and any applicable county codes. Neusche explained asking for a change in the zoning designation is only the first step in Dampier’s application, requesting that the Commercial Parks (P-2) zone be changed to Low Density Residential (R-1) zone on seven parcels of land comprising approximately 84 acres in order to accommodate an intended single-family housing development. According to the applicant, Jason Dampier, “The cost to reboot a golf course is astronomical, and just not feasible for one that has failed twice before.” Dampier further stated emphatically the golf course would never return under the current ownership.

During his presentation to the Commission, Dampier explained that he is still searching for the best water and sewer solution to serve the development project while protecting the existing neighborhood. He added he is considering building his own home in the development, if approved. The applicant’s rationale for developing more housing in the area included proximity to the county’s two largest employers, Lake Regional Health System and Camden R III School District. Camden’s affordable housing shortage would also gain some relief if this project proceeds, according to Dampier.

Chairman Neusche, addressing the full chamber, opened the meeting to anyone wishing to speak, either in support or opposition regarding the application. Among the concerns voiced by those in opposition, property value ranked at the top. One speaker suggested that his home value increased because it was in close proximity to a golf course, and it would decrease a similar amount if the golf course were not there.

Other reasons offered included overloaded water and sewer systems, overcrowding in the area with one speaker explaining that he might as well live in town if more houses are built. Other objections included traffic increases impacting the existing streets and concerns about an increase in theft. Those opposing spoke with conviction and passion.

Commissioner Nancy Steward, addressing the concerns of those opposing the idea of further development on the golf course land, explained that the current zoning designation of Parkland (P-2) allowed, “by right” (no application or approval needed), several undesirable elements in close proximity to the existing single family homes. Planning and Zoning Administrator, Tanna Wirtz, read from the list of allowed businesses in a P-2 zone, listing businesses such as a wild animal park, agricultural units raising livestock, camps with or without dormitories, wild lands, dude ranches, amusement parks, recreational vehicle (RV) parks, and others. Commissioner Steward pointed out that those things could be placed on the old golf course without the builder needing to ask permission, and those would be far worse neighbors. Steward closed by explaining the existing neighborhood enjoyed far more protection from the more restrictive R-1 zoning than the existing P-2 zoning.

Chairman Neusche explained that the rules of the commission required any item receiving any opposition in the form of written or verbal comments be moved to the category of old business and passed on to the next monthly meeting for a vote on approval of the application.

Administrator Wirtz announced the public comment period on the item officially closed at the end of this meeting. “The item will come up for vote at the next meeting, but no comments will be heard before the vote,” she said.

Other business including new plat applications, re-plat applications, a Conditional Use Permit application, and a rezoning request that drew no opposition for the September agenda were passed by vote of the commission.

The actions of the Planning and Zoning Commission are recommendations to the Camden County Commissioners for final approval.