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County OKs zoning change for tracks

Press Photo by Ashley Martin Stark County Commission Chairman Duane "Bucky" Wolf, left, talks with County Commissioner Ken Zander about a proposed railroad shipping facility at the county courthouse in Dickinson on Tuesday morning.

A railroad plan costing about $6 million is on track to ship crude oil out of Stark County after Stark County commissioners approved the project during their monthly meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners unanimously voted to rezone 310 acres west of Dickinson from agricultural to industrial to allow construction of a rail spur.

However, the change is subject to a road agreement and completion of required permits.

The facility will employ about 25 people, said Robert Angerer, manager of EDOG logistics, which is pursuing the project.

It would include a loop track that would branch off of the existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks on the property. A train can then haul crude oil away from the proposed facility's storage tanks.

"This is the one site that meets rather rigorous criteria for loading and unloading and location from Richardton to Medora, so it is a key site," Angerer said. "We need to be able to ship that oil and if we can't ship the oil they won't drill it."

Commissioner Russ Hoff was concerned that unused land surrounding the facility could be used for other industrial purposes. Requiring them to obtain a special use permit would keep that from happening, said Tom Henning, Stark County state's attorney.

"They would be limited to the use described in the permit, so it would be rezoned and their use of it as industrial property is limited to and may only be used as that use that they requested," Henning said.

In other matters:

- Commissioners discussed working on a policy to bring down the number of distracted drivers. Cell phones, texting and laptop computers were discussed as distractions.

- Stark County has received a state grant for about $12,100 to improve the courthouse. The majority of the money will be used to remodel second-floor offices.

- Commissioners accepted a bid for crushing and stockpiling gravel for $2.55 per cubic yard from Fisher Industries.

- Commissioners approved five tax abatements for properties damaged by a July 8 tornado in Dickinson. The values of the properties were reduced by 50 percent.