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Cerro Gordo supervisors approve rezoning request for new Five Star Coop location near Ventura

VENTURA — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors today approved a rezoning request by Five Star Coop for just under 17 acres of land about a half-mile north of the Ventura city limits from agricultural to light industrial.

Five Star plans to transfer much of its Ventura facilities to this site over time as the current facility doesn’t present a good opportunity for future expansion. The current site has several grain bins and an outdoor storage piling area.

The county’s planning & zoning administrator John Robbins says the Planning & Zoning Commission recently approved the change, saying that the county’s comprehensive plan supported the move more than discouraging it.  “It might take some farming out of production, but it also serves the farm community, and the site, the type of use isn’t necessarily good for a very dense area.”

Five Star general manager Ken Smith says the project is a significant enhancement for the company.  “Rather than building in the town of Ventura which is near a great natural asset, this is a step out of town. We already have existing truck traffic with the temporary pile that is there, so truck traffic will increase, but we have existing truck traffic and don’t seem to have any significant issue with that.”

Smith says the company’s investment will be good for their operation.  “We think this is a job preservation. The first phase of it is more than $8 million in capital, so it’s a significant investment by our cooperative, but we think there’s a significant enhancement and it reduces traffic through the town of Ventura and it gets us a bit further away from the lake.”

The initial project will include one dry grain bin 105 feet in diameter and 125 feet tall, one wet grain bin 60 feet in diameter and also 125 feet tall, a 160-foot grain leg and tower, a corn dryer and truck scale.

The supervisors at their September 21st meeting will hold a public hearing to consider establishing an urban revitalization plan which would allow the county to make the area of this expansion eligible for property tax exemptions. 

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