Abatement approved for Frontier expansion in Norway

Benton County Courthouse.

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – A resolution was approved by the Benton County Board of Supervisors regarding a local match for expansion of Frontier Coop, at their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Vinton.

Kate Robertson, Benton Development Group (BDG), explained she was at the meeting on behalf of Frontier, who plan to expand their Norway facility. This is a $7.3 million project. The state last week approved Frontier’s high quality jobs application. This requires a local match and since it’s in the rural area, it is in the form of a tax abatement.

They are adding 22,000 square feet to their warehousing facility, with bottling and filling lines and creating 24 positions.

Abatement is on a five-year sliding scale.

County Assessor Larry Andressen explained the exemption is already in place for Frontier. There are also exemptions in other communities. They also did this in 2017 for Frontier. It was approved after removal of some of the language in the resolution.

Land use

A land use change hearing was set for Nov. 17 at 9:15 a.m. for Robert and Christina Maynard in Section 27, Benton Township.

They also set a land use hearing date the same day at 9:30 a.m. for RJ Meyers for land in Section 36, Cedar Township.

A land use hearing was held for Dennis Hearn for land in Section 36, Harrison Township. The land has low Corn Suitability Rating (CSR), according to Land Use Administrator Marc Greenlee. They plan to build a new home there. The driveway meets the county’s policy. Greenlee pointed out there is a nearby dairy operation, and stressed that the farm use was there first, and existing farms typically have a freedom of nuisance. There can be smells and flies and manure will be hauled. The two can co-exist, Greenlee observed.

Ken Birker, the neighbor with the dairy operation, said he was concerned about the future. Laws may change, as well as supervisors, as well as the house ownership and the dairy. Public perception may also change towards agriculture. He doesn’t want any interference with his dairy operation. He doesn’t see it as a problem. His concern is for the future. The change was approved.

Supervisor Tracy Seeman told Birker, “If they ever come down on you guys, it’s my personal opinion milk would be $20 a gallon, nobody could be buying it and you’d be out of business … I don’t ever see that happening.”

Other business

The board approved use of the courthouse lawn for Santa and his sleigh on Nov. 19.

Chairman Richard Primmer followed the meeting through Zoom.

The board approved a temporary road closure on 18th Avenue in Union Township for culvert replacement. The road is to be closed Monday, Oct. 22.

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