- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council has scheduled a public hearing and a vote May 3 on a development agreement concerning a pork processing plant in Mason City.

The 5-1 procedural vote to set the hearing came after nearly 20 people spoke at Thursday’s council meeting in favor of the project and more than 30 spoke against it.

Prestage Foods officials say the $240 million pork processing plant in southwest Mason City will hire nearly 1,800 people in two phases. Officials say the plant would have a buffer zone and the company would make payments to the local school district.

Many residents who oppose the plant have raised environmental issues related to wastewater and odor and expressed concern about possible harm to property values.

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