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Ammonia tanks OK for Smith Addition in Monte

MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo approved a conditional use permit request Monday by the Farmer's Union Cooperative.

It will allow the company to construct three storage tanks to hold 78,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia in the Smith Addition Industrial Park.

A husband and wife living near the site have asked council members to reject the request. In a letter to the council, Kim and Cynthia Johnson said the tanks would be within a few hundred feet of two families. Their home has been at its location since 1885, but is adjacent to the property where the tanks are to be built.

The company is seeking to build the tanks in an area zoned for heavy industrial use. The city Planning Commission had recommended approval of the permit, provided any conditions recommended by the state of Minnesota be included as part of the permit, said City Manager Steve Jones.

Council members agreed at the regular meeting Monday, and also added conditions of their own to the permit to protect public safety. The city's permit is contingent on determining what conditions are recommended by the state, according to Jones. The Johnsons acknowledged that the area is zoned for heavy industrial use, but pointed to the tanks' proximity to homes and expressed concerns about the risks to health if a spill were to occur.

They also expressed concerns about the additional truck traffic that will occur during the periods of the year when anhydrous ammonia is applied to fields.

Council members devoted considerable discussion to the issues before approving the permit with conditions, according to Jones.

In other business, council members adopted a resolution adopting new state requirements that allow the city police to issue administrative citations for some traffic offenses. It will serve to increase the fee collected for citations by $20.

The city has already been issuing administrative citations and collecting a $40 fee. New state law requires that $20 of the ticket proceeds go to the state. Consequently the city raised the fee from $40 to $60.

The council action also adopts other language changes required by the state legislation.

In another matter, council members agreed to offer the 1970 ladder truck to the Minnesota Valley Antique Farm Power and Machinery Association for use at Heritage Hill. If the group is not interested, the city will take bids and attempt to sell the truck.

The city of Appleton had returned the truck to the city last year. The city has been unsuccessful in finding a party interested in purchasing it.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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