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Gage County officials considering anhydrous ammonia site

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Anhydrous ammonia discussion

The Gage County Board of Supervisors discusses a special use permit for an anhydrous ammonia plant proposed for north of Adams. The board is expected to vote on the proposal at its next meeting

A new anhydrous ammonia site is being planned for Gage County that could reduce traffic and chemical risks in Beatrice.

A public hearing was held by the Gage County Board of Supervisors regarding the special use permit applied for by Farmers Cooperative, which would establish a site around four miles north of Adams on the Gage and Lancaster county line.

Ryan Franzluebbers with Farmers Cooperative spoke at the hearing, and said the plan would relocate sites currently in Beatrice and Firth.

“One thing we’ve taken a strong look at is our anhydrous ammonia plants that are housed within our communities,” he said. “We’ve got a facility in Firth that sits down in the bottom of town in close proximity to the ball fields in that community. We understand that could be a potential hazard, so we’ve looked to find areas to move those sites to a more favorable area.

“Another site is here in Beatrice. Those vessels sit downtown by our grain elevator and during anhydrous ammonia season we have a lot of trailers moving within the town. Again, for obvious reasons there’s a lot of hazards. We’ve identified this site to move these two facilities to.”

The Beatrice location has two vessels, 26,000 and 18,000 gallons, that would be relocated to the site.

Franzluebbers said the two vessels in Firth, around 30,000 and 18,000 gallons, cannot be relocated because the data plates associated with them are illegible, and they will have to be decommissioned.

The move is the second phase in Farmers Cooperative’s plan, after previously relocating a plant from Virginia to Filley and building up the facility at Ellis.

Gage County Planning and Zoning Administrator Lisa Wiegand said numerous organizations looked at the site, since it sits on the county line.

“You are hearing the special use permit because it’s a commercial agriculture business,” she said. “It’s a new location on an agriculture-one area. It is located on the Gage-Lancaster county line so we had several governmental entities that were involved with this project."

Those included the Lancaster County Planning and Zoning Commission, Lancaster County Roads Department, Lancaster County Rural Water Department, Nemaha NRD, Nebraska State Fire Marshal, Nebraska Department of Roads, Adams Rural Fire Department and the Gage County Highway Department, in addition to Gage County Planning and Zoning.

Wiegand said 18 parcel owners in Gage County and 21 parcel owners in Lancaster County were notified about the permit application. During a recent meeting of the Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission, three members of the public expressed concerns for traffic safety. Nobody from the public spoke during the County Board’s public hearing on Wednesday.

The board’s policy is to wait two weeks after a public hearing to take action, and the permit is expected to be voted on during the next meeting in two weeks.

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