(ATLANTIC) The Cass County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the proposed amendment of County Ordinance 3 regarding the Light Industrial District Schedule at their meeting this morning.
Kathy Showalter, of Planscape Partners, represented Ron Fagen, of Fagen Inc., who recently purchased the old Amaizing Energy site north of Atlantic. Showalter said Fagen requested that two categories be added to the Light Industrial District language to add some flexibility.
“The goal is for Ron Fagen to be able to sell this site to a developer who will then create new investment and jobs for Cass County,” said Showalter. “So the request was that we add to categories: Alternative energy production facilities and Industrial facilities that utilize renewable resources including, but not limited to, agricultural by-products.”
Charles Marker, Cass County Engineer, had some concerns with amending the zoning ordinance because it will apply to the whole county, not just this specific property. Marker said he thinks the word “light” should be added to the front of the language that states “Industrial facilities that utilize renewable resources including ,but not limited to, agricultural by-products” because he thinks a business classified as heavy industrial could misinterpret the language.
“We agree with the recommendation of the zoning board that the ethanol plant can be added or the words themselves can be added, the problem I foresee here though is it was implied, as Kathy said, that this is light industry, but it does not specifically say that,” said Marker.
The Supervisors agreed with Marker’s point, but some also stated that if they didn’t add the word “light” then it probably would change anything because the language is all stated under the Light Industrial District Schedule.
When it came down to a decision on whether or not the board would change the language, Supervisor Chuck Rieken questioned whether they even had the right to do so.
“Do we have the right to amend it, to add this language, or delete language without a proper process?” asked Rieken. “Because we’re in new water, I don’t know what that process is.”
Dale Sunderman, Cass County Auditor, added, “We need legal counsel.”
The Supervisors decided to approve what the Zoning Board had recommended, which was the language that Showalter presented, and move forward until they can get further legal counsel.
The second hearing on these changes will take place on January 16th.