Cass County Commissioners voted Tuesday to hire a consultant from Johnson-Erickson-O’Brien (JEO) to conduct a fact finding about Amendment 62.
If approved, Amendment 62 would allow commercial composting sites up to 20 acres in an agriculture/recreation zoned area.
Adding the amendment would pave the way for Soil Dynamics, a private composting business, to continue with its request for a conditional use permit to expand the business, which neighbor of Wildlife Safari Park. Owner Andy Harpenau also wants to add food waste to the mix, which now only takes lawn and garden refuse.
Horseshoe Lake residents are among those opposing the change. They are joined by others who want to keep the area strictly for tourism endeavors.
At their March 4 meeting, the board set another public hearing regarding the matter for May 21.
In the meantime, they want more information.
“I have concerns about whether I know enough to make a decision at this point,” said Commissioner Dan henry. “We need to look at a bigger picture than one business. It’s difficult to support with the knowledge I have now.”
Commissioner Jim Peterson suggested hiring a consultant after receiving many inquires about the composting project. Peterson talked to Dave Potter from JEO about doing a report.
Potter served on the I-80 Corridor Zoning Commission and has an deep understanding of the area, which is also encompasses Mahoney State Park, Strategic Air and Space Museum, golf courses, and more, Peterson said,
Peterson said he didn’t think the report would take more than 4-5 hours.
County Board Chairman Janet McCartney was in favor of hiring a consultant.
“I don’t feel like I have to education to make a decision on this. I’m in favor of hiring a consultant,” she said.
Commissioners unanimously voted to approve hiring a consultant, with the stipulation that he or she spends no more than eight hours on the report.