Clayton had previously asked the Pierce City Council to re-zone a remote piece of property at the corner of Morris and Pine Streets from residential to commercial so that he could build a tie mill operation.
The triangular-shaped piece of land is bordered on two sides by county roads and by the vacated rail line owned by Burlington Northern Railroad on the property's third side. There are no houses within 200 feet of the proposed business location. There are three homes located on Morris Street fronting Railview Avenue.
"It's dead land," Clayton said. "It will provide jobs for area people."
Clayton has five employees to start the operation and expressed hopes of adding more workers as the business grows.
Richard Reed, planning and zoning board member, questioned Clayton on the number and size of trucks entering the business from Highway 37, and Clayton answered that he currently had four trucks, mainly used in his own business, and an additional for-hire truck driver that hauls wood product from Kansas when necessary.
Clayton plans on having the vehicles enter the property from Highway 37 at Flehmer's Corner, which fronts Pine Street. Trucks exit the property on Farm Road 2225, coming out by Empire Electric substation and Pierce City Rural Fire Station.
Clayton told those assembled that the entire operation would be under roof, thus eliminating much of the noise they anticipated. He also explained that the mill would run on electricity, not by gas or diesel motors.
Clayton also noted that there would be a pit for the collection of sawdust, which is a marketable commodity.
"I would load it out with an industrial loader, so it wouldn't be there long," Clayton said.
Some community residents asked if the venture would add to the city's tax base. Clayton replied that as an agricultural industry, he would not pay sales tax.
One community resident said the board would be "murdering property values" in the area if they agreed to grant the variance.
Clayton said that the operation would run during daylight hours Monday through Saturday.
|"If the city votes no, I'll go somewhere else and build it," Clayton said.|
After hearing public input into the matter, the Planning and Zoning Board debated various issues concerning the proposed business venture.
Brian Jones was encouraged that a new business venture would be coming to Pierce City.
"He may not pay sales taxes, but his workers and the truck drivers are likely to come into town and buy a pop or lunch," Jones said. "Is he going to help the town? Sure."
Former Mayor Mark Peters reminded board members that re-zoning the property is permanent
"You have to look to see if it will help or hurt the potential growth of the city," Peters said.
When discussions concluded and a vote was called, board members Tom Gripka, Dana Stanphill and Richard Reed voted not to approve a recommendation to aldermen to re-zone the property from residential to industrial as opposed to commercial. Brian Jones, Andy Hogenmiller and John Stricklin voted to make the recommendation for re-zoning.
With the vote ending in a tie, board members voted not to send any recommendation to the Pierce City Board of Aldermen concerning the request.
The Planning and Zoning Board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 at City Hall.