OTTAWA— If you’ve followed the permit process of Mississippi Sand at all, you know nothing happens fast.
After three hours of discussion, the Ottawa Planning Commission on Wednesday voted to continue its discussion on a barge terminal permit to Monday night.
Archer Daniels Midland is asking for a conditional use permit to unload sand from Mississippi Sand on its property along Route 71. While the planning commission didn’t vote on that request, the members did agree to zone the property as rural.
Some planning commission members indicated they were uncomfortable voting on a permit for ADM, feeling they didn’t have answers to concerns such as truck traffic and sand polluting the air. Commission member Debby Reagan responded by saying these complaints are just repeats of other meetings and it’s unfair to drag it on further.
When Wednesday night’s hearing got off topic, Ottawa City Attorney Keith Leigh tried reigning in the planning commission, saying they were questioning things that were beyond their responsibility, saying they’re a planning commission, not the EPA. He told the commission they’ve never acted that way with any other applicant.
The planning commission has 30 days to make a recommendation on the conditional use permit. The Ottawa City Council has the final say in whether ADM gets its permit to haul silica sand and if it is allowed to annex into the city.
Jeremy Aitken is a reporter for AM-1220 WLPO.