Despite strong dissent from residents and property owners who live near a proposed Biodiesel blending Bulk Plant on Kaneb Road, the Lincoln County Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit Tuesday with a 7-3 vote.
The commission reopened the public hearing to allow comments from the public and from Sapp Bros. Petroleum Inc. Residents reiterated what had been stated at the previous public hearing on June 9 with concerns about safety, property values and environmental impact.
Liz Evans said she has lived at her residence off Kaneb Road for 36 years.
“There are times I can’t get from (Kaneb) road to the highway,” Evans said. “There is no way a semi is going to make it safely and our road is going to be destroyed.”
Several residents agreed about the condition of the road and all said “the road sucks,” but Lincoln County Highway Superintendent Carla O’Dell disagreed with their assessment. Some compared what could happen on Kaneb with the troubles the county has had with Cattle Growers Road.
“I don’t see a problem with (Kaneb) road,” O’Dell said. “Cattle Growers Road has as many as 100 trucks a day, so it’s not a fair comparison.”
The proposal from Sapp Bros. indicates there will be between 10 to 12 trucks a day accessing the proposed facility.
Others spoke about the safety aspect of trucks turning onto U.S. Highway 83 and how it would put folks driving automobiles in danger. Steve Evans, area resident, said he timed semi trucks coming over the crest of a hill south of the intersection and said it is about 14 seconds from the hill to Kaneb.
Ron Cochran, representing Sapp Bros., and Ryan Stearns, architect with Joe R. Hewgley and Associates, addressed some of the issues. One suggestion was that the facility be moved to the north of NuStar Energy to avoid the use of Kaneb Road and to distance the operation further from residential homes.
“We looked at that,” Cochran said. “We tried everything we could to go to the north, but there was nothing that would work that direction.”
During the discussion, Doug Brott, who owns property near the proposed site, said there was a section in the regulations stating hazardous materials had to be located a quarter mile from any residence. After searching through the regulations, Planning Administrator Judy Clark found the restriction and apologized for missing it earlier in the process.
Calculations determined that the storage facility would have to be moved further to the north of the property in order to be in compliance with the regulations. Cochran and Stearns said that would be done.
“Safety would be my biggest concern,” said commissioner Zak Eickhoff. “But with the zoning being I-1 Industrial, that’s what it’s for — but I’m torn.”
Commissioner Kurt Pieper reiterated the purpose of zoning the area as industrial.
“We need new things,” Pieper said. “We need new industry.
Commissioners Marlene Flaming, Jim Bain, Roger Merritt, Brad Stickelman, Steve Koch, Pieper and Brad Stickelman all voted in favor with Linda Hansen, Chuck Boden and Rod Rayburn voting nay.