UPDATE: The Ucon Planning and Zoning Commission has tabled action on a proposed Cives steel fabrication plant. Cives is seeking annexation, a zone change, and an amendment of the city's comprehensive plan that would allow for construction of a new 100 thousand square foot plant within the city's existing impact area.
The area is currently located in an agricultural zone in Bonneville County. The Ucon comprehensive plan projects the area for residential growth.
The Ucon Planning and Zoning Commission will reconvene next Thursday to continue its consideration of the proposal before making a recommendation to the Ucon City Council.
EARLIER REPORT: It was a full house in Ucon Thursday night as more than 100 people attended a public hearing on the proposed steel fabrication plant for the city.
The meeting on the Cives plant was originally scheduled for city hall, but as more and more people showed up, organizers were forced to move the meeting to the community fire house.
Cives present its blueprint for the more than 100,000 square foot facility and gave attendees an overview of the project.
In order for the proposed plant to more forward, the zoning of the property would have to be changed to commercial.
Emotions were running high at the more than 3 hour meeting. Planning and zoning commissioners asked questions for about an hour. Testimony from the public began with a couple people in favor of the plan to being up to 150 jobs to the area. About 15 people signed up to talk against the proposed plant.
Some of the big concerns raised at the meeting include 21 hours of operation a day and possible light and noise disruption like from trains delivering steel.
Another concern of locals is traffic. However, Cives says and Idaho Transportation Department study shows the plant would have minimal impact. Some asked if nearby schools were accounted for in the study. They're concerned trucks driving 55 mph would be too dangerous.
The impact on the environment was also a concern at the meeting.
Meanwhile, others said they simply don't want an industrial plant in a residential area. Some saying this proposed facility contradicts the area's comprehensive plan.
There are still some folks who are in the middle on the issue. But they, too, agree more information is needed.
“I'm not biased one way or another,” Larry Christiansen said. “I would love to see the plant come to Ucon. I would also love to know that the city of Ucon is prepared for the plant and that they have all of their questions answered. I wish I could have had all of my questions answered tonight; I had several of them.”
Nearby property owners also raised concerns over a potential impact on property values. Cives said its other plants have had positive impacts and typically improved the quality of life.
As of 10:45 p.m. Thursday public testimony was still underway. After that, Cives will get an opportunity to respond to all of the concerns.
Before the meeting began, planning and zoning officials said they would deliberate and decided Thursday night on whether or not to change the zoning of the area. The commission then will present its recommendation to the Ucon City Council.