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County sets special meeting to discuss biofuels project

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

The Shelby County Commissioners were scheduled to convene on June 18 as the County Drainage Board in a special meeting regarding a large development project southeast of Fairland.

Now, it’s unclear if that meeting will happen at that time.

At their regular meeting Monday morning, the commissioners, acting as the Drainage Board, set next Monday as the date for the special meeting. 

In their role as the Drainage Board, the commissioners oversee all matters regarding storm water drainage in the county.

Normally, the Drainage Board meets every other week. The unusual meeting next Monday was to hear from the developers about drainage for the project on County Road 300 North.

Citing confidentiality agreements they signed, the commissioners declined to say what the project is about.

However, the property in question is located at County Road 2373 W 300 N, just west of the intersection of Tom Hession Drive.

That property, 144.6 acres on the south side of CR 300 N, is owned by Poet Biorefining LLC, according to the county Geographic Information System map.

Poet makes ethanol and related products; it’s been ranked as the largest biofuel manufacturer in the U.S.

The company owns four plants in Indiana and 22 others in six additional states, plus a research center at its corporate headquarters in Scotland, South Dakota, according to its website – www.poet.com.

At a previous meeting on May 15, the commissioners granted the city of Shelbyville the authority to oversee planning for construction on the Poet property.

There was to be a public hearing at 5 p.m. on June 18 conducted by the Shelbyville Plan Commission and the Shelbyville Board of Zoning Appeals on the site plan submitted by Poet.

However, public notice of the hearing was not advertised in The Shelbyville News as required by state law due to an oversight on the part of the company.

Bryant Niehoff, director of the city’s Plan Commission, said the meeting with city planners would have to be rescheduled; there was no firm date yet.

Next Monday’s meeting of the Shelby County Commissioners begins at 8 a.m. at the Courthouse Annex, 25 W. Polk St. 

Commissioner Kevin Nigh (R-Center District) was unaware of the issue regarding the public notice, so he was unsure if the Drainage Board would meet next Monday regarding the project.