City panels OK Cargill, Mutual Federal plans

By Michael Seffrin - [email protected]

SIDNEY — An industry and a bank got the OK from city panels Monday to proceed with separate projects.

The Zoning Board of Appeals Monday afternoon granted a variance to Cargill Inc. for a gravel parking lot, and that night, the Planning Commission recommended that City Council approve a lot replat so that Mutual Federal Savings Bank can build a branch office at the southwest corner of Michigan Street and Stolle Avenue.

Cargill asked for a variance to allow a gravel parking lot instead of a paved surface. The new lot will allow trucks coming to the facility on Industrial Drive to more quickly move off Vandemark Road and Industrial Drive and onto the property. A Cargill official told the board this is a temporary solution; the company plans eventually to reconfigure traffic flow on the site.

“The proposed parking facility is for a ‘drop and load’ facility for semi-trailers” city Community Service Director Barbara Dulworth said in her report to the board. “Drivers will drop the trailers and Cargill will then move the trailers on their property for unloading and/or loading and then the driver can pick up the trailer when it is ready.”

“Cargill is currently in the process of consolidating warehousing facilities that have been scattered throughout the region to a central warehouse facility on their property at 2339 Industrial Drive,” Dulworth said. “With the consolidation, approximately 600 semi-trucks will be entering the facility daily. During harvest season, an additional 200 trucks per day is possible with soybean deliveries. The proposed parking facility would route at least 76 trucks off the street quickly, improve scheduling of trucks, and allow for additional queuing of trucks off-street on the proposed gravel drive around the perimeter of the parking facility.”

Mike Christensen, assistant facility manager for Cargill Sidney, said the new parking lot will “ease the traffic problem,” but won’t solve it. “This is kind of a stop-gap measure,” he said.

In a letter to Dulworth that was part of the variance request, Christensen said the gravel lot will have a “five-year expiration date.” During the five years, Cargill will consider a long-term solution, including a northern entrance to the site, Dulworth said in her report to the board.

Mike Dodds, executive director of the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership (formerly the West Ohio Development Council), addressed the board and urged it to approve the variance. He said Cargill is one of Sidney’s largest employers and has invested millions of dollars in its local facility. “Cargill has a history of doing things right,” he said.

Monday night, the Planning Commission recommended that City Council approve a replat of two lots to create one new lot at the southwest intersection of Michigan Street and Stolle Avenue. The purpose of this replat to combine the existing lots and dedicate a small portion of right of way at the intersection to provide adequate room for installation of a sidewalk in the right of way. The replat would result in an L-shaped lot of 1.932 acres. The city staff is currently reviewing a site plan for the development of a financial institution, Dulworth said. Mutual Federal owns the land.

By Michael Seffrin

[email protected]

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.