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Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007 08:05 am

Off the table

It’s a wrap for the controversial Piatt County corn mill

Untitled Document Piatt County will not become home to a 45,000-square-foot white corn processing plant after all.     Last week, Clarkson Grain, one of the firms involved — Molinero Inc., headquartered in Chicago, would be the primary occupant — withdrew its application for a permit to build the factory where masa, an ingredient in corn tortillas, would be produced.      Clarkson Grain originally planned to construct the plant next to the town of Lodge, but the Cerro Gordo-based company selected an alternate site after local residents protested, citing environmental concerns [see R.L. Nave, “Tortilla flap,” July 19].      Despite more opposition to the second location, near White Heath, the Piatt County zoning board gave its unanimous approval, albeit with several conditions, late last month.      Rick Bucker, Clarkson Grain’s general manager, says the company has decided not to pursue the White Heath site, however.     Other counties, including adjacent Douglas County, provided “a combination of assistance, services, and facilities,” required by their business model, which Piatt County did not offer, Bucker says.      Nor is special zoning required for several of the sites that are now under consideration, he adds.      Trish Gale, Piatt County’s zoning administrator, believes Clarkson grew tired of battling neighbors.
     “Unfortunately we lost and the people in the subdivisions won,” Gale says.  
    “I’m afraid this will discourage anyone from trying to come in here and do anything in the future.” — R.L. Nave
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