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LOSTANT — The regular board meeting for the village of Lostant was moved to the fire station to accommodate the number of residents in attendance Monday night.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Ruff Brothers representative Brian Richard presented the company’s plans to the board and took questions from the crowd of about 50 people.
Ruff Brothers Grain Co. has applied for a special use permit to allow its residential properties to be used for commercial purposes, with the intention of relocating the office and truck scales down the street from their current location. Richard said the new truck route would avoid Pond Street altogether, instead taking Main Street from Fourth to Founder Street.
Comments from the public ranged from complaints about stagnant water — “You’re not making any friends with that smell” — to health and safety concerns. Village president Fred Hartenbower said the concern about stagnant water did not seem relevant to the issue of moving the scales.
Former police chief Randy Railey said there were several problems with the proposed plan.
“Traffic is going to be screwed up coming down Fourth Street big time,” he said. “You’re going to have them endangering the kids that live there. You’ve got the school right there that’s going to be a problem. You’re going to devastate our property values.”
Richard said the business plans to re-route trucks around the school and place the scales east-west on Founder Street.
“I would think it’d be great for the town,” he said.
A cluster of residents whose homes are affected by the current truck route attended the meeting with their complaints. When the trucks turn around to pass through the scale after dropping off loads, they kick up a cloud of “red dust” that residents say coats their lawns and makes it unhealthy to open their windows.
“I just don’t know the legalities of them operating that close to residential properties as it is,” said resident Pamela Bland, “let alone granting more permits to do more.”
A few residents called into question whether the business was in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency, which Richard said it was.
One resident said the previous company that had operated there — Archer Daniels Midland — had put chloride on the ground where the trucks turned around to prevent the dust from clouding the air and snowing down on neighboring yards. Richard said no one had addressed him with concerns about the dust before. “I’ll put chloride down,” he said.
Residents also said they believed their property values would decrease if the business proceeded with its plan. Richard disagreed.
One woman, apparently an employee of Ruff Brothers, stood to address the crowd with an explanation of the plan. The new location would provide drivers more room each way, she said.
“It’s very awkward, especially for our tractors with these big wagons, to get around. It’s just going to make it easier,” she said, adding it would make accidents and injuries less likely.
A public hearing regarding the rezoning of Ruff Brothers’ residential properties will be at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13.
The zoning board will meet immediately following the hearing to decide on a recommendation to make to the village board. As soon as that meeting is concluded, the village board will convene for its regular monthly meeting and will vote on the issue.
Hartenbower said that series of meetings will likely be at the fire station rather than at the village hall.
Several residents continued to discuss the issue from their seats while the board proceeded with the meeting.
Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Article comment by:
I find it concerning that Ruff Bros is willing to flagrantly lie during a town meeting such as this. They have been informed and an employee of Ruff Brothers has done a walk through at 407 W 4th St in Lostant regarding the air quality issues and ground maintenance issues caused by the "red dust". The company has made empty promises such as paying to have gutters cleaned and putting chloride down. This appears to be something that needs to be discussed with the Enviornmental Protection Agency, the same way it was discussed with ADM.
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