County rezones 293 acred for Ohio Valley Resources, Inc.

The Spencer County Leader ~ August 13, 2013

By: Dean Bolin

Developers of Ohio Valley Resources Inc.,(OVR), developers of a $1.25 billion fertilizer facility potentially to be built in the Rockport area, took another step to achieving their goal on August 6.

The Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved rezoning of 293 acres in Ohio Township — the site chosen for the plant.

Originally, the land was variously zoned Industrial-1, Business-3 or Residential-1. The company asked to rezone the land to I-2, the appropriate zoning category for the fertilizer operation.

The plant, once fully operational, plans to produce 2,400 of liquid ammonia daily, along with a few other by-products which would also be sold. It is estimated building the facility will provide 1,200 jobs and the plant itself would support 80 positions.

Public discussion of the request began on July 25 with the Plan Commission. Supporters such as Lincolnland Economic Development Corporation and Mayor Harold Goffinet mentioned the plant corresponds to the Highway 231 Corridor Study completed in 2008. The City of Rockport would provide water and sewage for the facility.

Opposition at the Plan Commission was limited in this case to neighboring homeowners. Safety concerns were the focus of Michael Cochenour and Rollie Kelly, particularly in regards to ammonia releases.

The Plan Commission unanimously passed the request, with the exception of Frank Ingram, who, as one of the property owners where the plant would be located, did not participate, leaving the room before the vote. Kelly attempted to have Mickey Toler removed from the vote because of a perceived conflict of interest, but Commission Attorney John Wetherill verified Toler does not have a conflict of interest. Toler himself stated he had no involvement with the project.

At the Commissioners meeting, OVR President Doug Wilson reported IDEM has given preliminary approval for the project's air quality permit and is currently awaiting EPA approval. Wilson would like to start construction yet this year, but said spring, 2014 was more likely.

Both Kelly and Cochenour attended the meeting and reiterated their positions.

The Commissioners followed suit with the Plan Commission and passed the rezoning request unanimously.