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Oil waste facility near Belfield put on hold

Luke Bross, chief operating officer of Location Service Inc., speaks in front of Zoning Board members in the commissioner's room of the Stark County Courthouse on Thursday to address public concerns regarding the construction of an oil waste facility near Belfield.

Despite its initial goal to change zoning restrictions, an Oklahoma company interested in building an oil waste facility near Belfield requested their own project be put on the back burner.

Luke Bross, chief operating officer of Location Service Inc., spoke in front of the Stark County Zoning Board on Thursday. After hearing concerns from neighboring residents, he decided it would be best to further analyze the company's plans before moving forward.

"We would like to request that we could table this until we did some more technical reviews and looked at some of the other credential things that the county would want to see from us," Bross said during Thursday's hearing to amend the Stark County zoning ordinance, which took place in the commissioner's room at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson.

At the beginning of his presentation, Bross said an oil waste processing site is going to be needed in the area.

"As the oil and gas industry is moving south, there's going to be a greater and greater demand for something like this," Bross said.

But after commissioners raised questions regarding the company's preliminary plans, Bross agreed that a "technical review" is necessary.

Commissioner Jay Elkin said Bross' plans are unclear and need attention.

"When I look at the survey plot that you have here, it's somewhat deceiving," Elkin said during Bross' presentation.

Commissioners were not the only ones who raised concerns about the possible waste facility. Individuals who live near the potential building site, approximately 7 miles south of Belfield off Highway 85, also stepped forward during Thursday's meeting.

Tom Tesser, who owns land north of where Location Service would like to build, is worried more truck activity in the area could make roads treacherous.

"Visibility is limited," Tesser said of the landscape. He added that trucks entering and exiting lanes might have trouble seeing oncoming traffic.

Connie Folton, who lives east of the proposed building site, agrees. She said area roads are used by school buses and safety should be a main focus.

"I've personally seen a tragic accident there," Folton said.

In addition to safety concerns, Tesser is worried water flow from heavy rains could move from the proposed site into his property. He has seen such flooding in the past.

"We had 3 to 4 inches of rain in a very short time," Tesser said.

Byron Richard, the landowner of the plot, also recommended the company take the time to properly evaluate its future endeavors.

Upon the hearing's close, Elkin said the technical review should cover "drainage" and "run-off" issues. He added that Location Service will have to flip the bill for services provided by a county engineer.