The Fort Scott Planning Commission is meeting at 4 p.m. March 1 at city hall, 123 S. Main, to consider a conditional use permit for property south of the town for a micro-meat processing plant.
The property being considered is south of the Kansas Department of Transportation property, according to the press release from the City of Fort Scott. The K.D.O.T property is south of the LaRoche Baseball Park.
The Bourbon County Economic Director Jody Hoenor sent the following information on the proposed plant.
“Billy Madison, the owner of W Diamond M Meats, will be seeking the approval of a conditional use permit from City of Fort Scott Commission,” Hoenor said. “He plans to return to his hometown and build a $2.7million micro meat processing plant located approximately two miles outside the city limits of Fort Scott and south of the Fort Scott Industrial Park.”
“The processing plant will add to our efforts in building resilient and self-sustaining food systems,” Hoenor said. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for these smaller-scale processing plants, and we are very fortunate to be considered for this expansion. This proposal has potential to help farmers and ranchers with extra supplemental income act as a stimulus for other sectors such as retail trade and services.”
“The site is currently zoned correctly as heavy industrial for use,” she said. “The City of Fort Scott codes requires an additional conditional use permit approval for a meat processing plant to be built.”
The City of Fort Scott Water Department and Codes Enforcment were consulted on sewer and wastewater issues, she said.
“The codes department let us know we would need a conditional use permit to build on the selected site,” Hoener said.
Since July 2020, Madison has been working with Hoener and Bourbon County Economic Development Council Chairs, Steve Buerge (previous), and more recently Gregg Motley, she said.
“It is Madison’s goal is to be a good neighbor, bring above-average wage jobs, and provide value in under-developed land,” Hoenor said. “Financing of the project and acquisition of land is pending approval of the conditional use permit.”
“All impacts on social, economic, and environmental conditions were investigated thoroughly including air and water quality, crime rate, property valuation, wage growth, employment growth, occupational health, and odor,” she said.
“State of the art wastewater system is used to remove suspended matter such as oils and solids,” Hoenor said. “This is measured through biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). The equipment skims any leftover matter and is sold. Bacteria growth is what creates an offensive odor,” she said.”The requirements in cleaning are incredibly stringent and does not allow time for bacteria to grow. As a result, there is no offensive odor in the processing plant.”
“This is a highly regulated industry with a USDA inspector office on sight,” she said. ” It is a requirement in building plans that the USDA inspector has a separate office with his/her own shower. This inspector is on-site at all times while in operation. There are 3-4 additional inspections per month, in order to keep our food safe to consume.”
“There will be no outdoor pens or holding areas for animals, mitigating smell downwind or in the vicinity,” Hoenor said. “Animals are delivered in the very early morning hours and several hours later slaughtered and processed.”
“Letters of support from residential houses in Johnson County and commercial businesses have confirmed the business is a conscientious neighbor,” she said.
In addition, the product can be sold in other states and will bring new jobs.
“W Diamond M Meats is FSIS approved, allowing the meat to be sold across state lines, injecting capital into our economy,” Hoenor said. “This business will bring 30 full-time jobs that pay higher than Bourbon County average. The new construction increases overall county valuation in property and affords the opportunity to reduce the overall tax burden.”