Cargill's zoning request approved despite opposition

LAPAZ — Cargill, Inc., in LaPaz, recently met with some opposition when they requested a zoning change to their property.
County plan commissioner Ralph Booker first brought up the issue during the Aug. 20 Marshall County Commissioner meeting, noting that Cargill would like a portion of their property re-zoned from residential to industrial so they can expand their facility. A public hearing was also held Aug. 20, and several residents near the plant expressed displeasure at the change, saying that dust from the plant blows on their homes and vehicles and causes a major cleaning problem.
Tuesday, commissioners discussed the problem again. Brandon Woodward, plant manager at Cargill, told commissioners that he had met with homeowners near the plant and tried to resolve their issues with the dust.
“We did come up with a way to try to live together,” said Woodward. “I think they understand I can’t get rid of all the dust, and I think I understand some of their concerns.”
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked Woodward to elaborate on what exactly he will be doing to alleviate the nearby resident’s issues with the expansion.
“If winds get over five miles per hour, we’ll shut the operation off,” said Woodward. “We will clear the fence line (near where the dust blows on houses) and plant three rows of pine trees.”
Woodward also said he will put better mufflers on the fans at the plant.
Roy Harter, who lives at 100 Hudson St. in LaPaz, attended the meeting to share his thoughts on the situation.
“We did come to some agreements, but the problem that we are really having is with the dust…planting those trees won’t help,” said Harter.
Harter said that he had requested Woodward offer a free house cleaning to himself and other neighbors affected, but that Woodward had said that it wasn’t possible because of liability issues. Woodward did offer a free car wash.
“What we’d like to see is (Cargill) move this operation to the other side (of the property),” said Harter.
Woodward said in the Aug. 20 commissioner meeting that he anticipates a major expansion within the next few years that will involve the current facility eventually being torn down. Because of this potential expansion, he is not willing to move the storage to the other side of the property only to tear it down in the next few years.
Commissioner Jack Roose commented that this expansion could take away the problem with dust in coming years anyway.
Overmyer said that he recommends leaving the current tree line in place and just adding the pine trees.
Following more discussion, commissioners approved the zoning change.