Zoning Change Gains Approval

Zoning change gets unanimous first round approval from the Plattsmouth City Council. The measure that would change zoning on Schmidt Transportation property to allow for a pay-at-the-pump compressed natural gas fast pump and a semi truck parking area with natural gas slow fill now goes to second reading.

The Cassgram reports the area targeted for rezoning from agricultural to general commercial that is southeast of Schmidt Transportation and south of East Bay Road. A Black Hills Energy natural gas pipeline runs under the property and Schmidt would be tapping into that.

The fast fill pump lot will only have a small structure, said Bill Reinsch, the attorney for Schmidt. That pump will be available to the public.

The other lot will be for Schmidt trucks to park and will be set up to allow for slow fill of natural gas overnight.

The area will be fenced, said Reinsch, and the balance of the property will remain agricultural.

Roger Schmidt explained how the state took some of the existing Schmidt Transportation parking for the Highway 75 expansion and this will help with truck parking space needs.

Those space needs could be growing if things go as planned. In response to Councilman Terry D. Tilson’s question about the economic benefits of rezoning the property, Schmidt said running more trucks on CNG helps his bottom line and intentions are to increase the fleet over the next year-and-a-half and that would lead to a “10 to 20 person increase” in employment.

There were also safety questions from council members. Schmidt said everything is built with explosive-proof materials and that since natural gas is lighter than air, flames go straight up. There is a Black Hills shut-off valve station nearby.

Schmidt said the retail CNG cost is $1.98 to $2.00 per gallon and that mileage is about the same as diesel.

Harriett Holman, an adjoining property owner, spoke against the zoning change. She had concerns about concrete in an area that has flooded and what that means for other properties in the area. She urged council members to “think long and hard” about looking at “a concrete jungle” and whether this project “is actually necessary.”

The Plattsmouth Planning Commission reviewed the plan and recommended approval. The property is outside the city limits but within the city's two-mile zoning jurisdiction.

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