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Draft sketch plan for industrial park approved by Planning Commision

Next step is BOCC approval

By Olivia Lueckemeyer

The construction of a 35-acre industrial park proposed just south of Riverland is one step closer to a reality, with the county Planning Commission approving the project’s draft sketch plan at a meeting on Friday, October 7.

Commission chairman Kent Fulton said he felt confident that the applicant, L&D Ranches, LLC, has taken initiative to tackle concerns voiced during the project’s public hearing in July. Ensuring the proper disposal of waste to avoid contamination of the nearby Slate River, constructing a berm to mitigate visibility from Highway 135, as well as the segregation of certain uses, were all addressed within the sketch plan.

“I think the applicant had addressed what was asked for by the HOA of Riverland,” Fulton said.

Commission members expressed some concern over the lack of specificity concerning what level of commercial/retail use would be permitted. Representative for the applicant, Marcus J. Lock, said this was a point that could be discussed during the project’s preliminary planning phase.

“Our contemplation is that it would be consistent with Riverland and that there would be some accessory retail for people who are manufacturing products on-site,” he explained. “We are not proposing anything different from what already exists in Riverland.”

The proposed “Whetstone Industrial Park” would be located just south of the Riverland Industrial Park and would include 17 mixed-use lots ranging from 1.25 to 2.15 acres in size. The applicant plans to accept proposals for both industrial and light industrial uses, with the option of auxiliary housing for the light industrial clients, which could help alleviate local housing problems.

According to the county’s Land Use Resolution (LUR), new commercial developments must undergo a minor impact review, however, the applicants are hoping to only have to endure an administrative review, since the construction of Whetstone Industrial Park could be considered an expansion of Riverland–an existing commercial use.

“We would really like to not have to go through minor impact review,” Lock said.

The next step is approval of the draft sketch plan by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at an upcoming meeting. Upon approval by the BOCC, the project can move into its preliminary planning phase.

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