- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Prestage Foods of Iowa officials say its proposed $240 million pork processing plant in southwest Mason City will include a buffer zone and payments to the local school district.

The Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/1XL6Pli ) reports that the plans announced Wednesday include a 2.5-mile buffer zone around Mason City, Clear Lake and the lake itself in which Prestage won’t build or operate any hog confinements or buy animals from a facility in the area.

“The city’s most pressing concern, as it relates to the proposal, was the potential introduction of confinement operation facilities in proximity to the lake watershed,” said Scott Flory, Clear Lake City Administrator. “Prestage Farms’ willingness to respect the city’s concerns is very helpful and appreciated.”

The company has also agreed to pay the Mason City School District $1.4 million over a 10-year period to help the system address potential growth.

A tentative agreement also outlines the project’s economic development grants and employment requirements.

The council unanimously approved the terms of the development agreement on April 5. At the time, Councilman Alex Kuhn expressed reservations about some of the terms in the proposed development agreement.

Many residents who oppose the plant have raised environmental issues related to wastewater, odor and proliferation of hog confinement facilities. They’ve also expressed concern about possible negative effects on property values and population growth.

Kuhn said he welcomes conversation about the plant while the City Council considers the proposal.

“It’s great to see so many people engaged in the process as it shows they care deeply about their community,” he said.

During its Thursday night meeting, the Mason City Council is expected to set May 3 as the deadline for acting on the finalized development agreement for the southwest Mason City plant’s construction.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/


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