The proposed PEAT International waste treatment plant has one more hurdle to clear before it is accepted by the city.

After the plant’s special exception in its Industrial 3 zoning designation was approved by the Anderson Board of Zoning Appeals on Nov. 5, the plans for the facility will make one more appearance at the Plan Commission, where a secondary plat for the land will be voted upon.

The Plan Commission is mainly concerned that the plans meet the requirements of the city’s Subdivision Control Ordinance, including front and side-yard setbacks, height and easements for sewer and water, assistant city attorney Bill Kreegar said.

“They do not hear evidence on the use like the BZA heard,” Kreegar said. “Most of what comes before the Plan Commission is technical matters.”

If it is found the property meets all the requirements, the Plan Commission must approve the plans. The next Plan Commission meeting is Dec. 9, but the PEAT plant was not on the agenda as of Friday afternoon. Representatives have until Monday to place it on the agenda to make the next Plan Commission meeting.

Neighbors to the proposed PEAT site showed up in large numbers for the BZA meeting, where they expressed their concerns about the plant’s effects on the environment and public health. While some mentioned the plant could make their property values go down, Kreegar said the neighbors might have been better served to have gotten experts on their side.

“Maybe the argument should have been more focused on diminution in the value of their property,” he said. “If they had a real estate agent testify that the plant would cause property values to decrease, but they didn’t really approach it from that standpoint.

“If they would have had an expert there to actually offer testimony or evidence different from the PEAT representatives, that might have also helped their case.”

At the Plan Commission meeting, the only arguments from neighbors that would have relevance would regard technical matters, like setback from the next-door neighbor’s property, Kreegar said.

The matter will bypass the City Council this time around, as the property already was annexed in 1993 and approved by the council to be rezoned to Industrial 3 in 1995.

Neighbors at that time had the opportunity to attend public hearings and object, Kreegar said.

The I-3 designation requires that any activity on the property be done inside the building and a special exception by the BZA, which was approved Nov. 5. The classification also requires more protections to the surrounding neighborhood than I-1 or I-2.

“Of the three industrial zone classifications, this is the one the ordinance regulates as the least intrusive to the neighborhood,” Kreegar said.

The City Council only would have to have hearings on the property again if its zone classification were changed.

“There really is no other body that this goes through,” Kreegar said. “The city still has the obligation to monitor noise and emissions and make sure it’s operating within the zoning ordinance and Indiana Department of Environmental Management standards.”

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