Zoning change OKd for feed mill

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

McCOOK, Neb. — A zoning change to permit a local feed mixing plant to make upgrades is not a “spot zoning” situation, said McCook’s city manager.

Nate Schneider said the request from Frenchman Valley at 301 West A “is not changing the rules for one applicant,” but rather, extending the Industrial Heavy zoning at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad property to the the immediate north to Frenchman Valley.

Jacque Riener, engineer with Frenchman Valley, told the McCook City Council at the public hearing Monday night that in order to comply with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Energy, Frenchman Valley requested the zoning change so upgrades can be made to reduce dust emission from the plant. One of the upgrades planned is to extend the south truck bay to cover trucks loading and unloading grain, she said. Frenchman Valley requested the zoning change be approved in one reading instead of the usual three, so a report could be submitted to the state by the end of October.

Schneider said the zoning change, from Central Business to Industrial Heavy, is the first step in the process and less concerning to him than what needs to be done to proceed with facility upgrades. Proposed upgrades will have to be brought to the McCook Zoning Board and building inspector for set back requirements and variance changes, he said.

McCook citizen Mark Wilcox spoke at the public hearing and said he has nothing against Frenchman Valley but doesn’t think the proposed change is the right way to go about fixing the problem. He was also concerned about the city essentially writing a “blank check without having a plan.” Schneider said he has talked with Wilcox about his concerns, including the radius of semi’s turning, and reiterated that “A lot of things need to occur” after the zoning change.

Upon majority vote, the council voted to suspend the three-readings needed to change a zoning ordinance and approved it on its first reading.

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