Small Town Living
Village Of Mead Office
(402) 624-2495
Non-Emergency Fire & Rescue
(402) 624-3610

VILLAGE OF MEAD – PLANNING COMMISSION

MEETING MINUTES – May 3,, 2021

Mead Community Building, 220 E. Fourth St.

The Village of Mead Planning Commission met Monday, May 3, 2021, at 7:31 pm. The meeting was called to order by Vice President Levi Durnal with roll call.  Present were Robert Morin, James Hannan, Connie Schliffke, Levi Durnal, Jim Halbmaier and Wyatt Swartz.  President Rick Miller was not present.

Chair states: “The Village of Mead makes available at least one current copy of the Open Meetings Act posted in the meeting room at a location accessible to members of the public.  The Act is posted in the front entry of the Village Office.”

Wyatt motioned, and Connie seconded the motion to approve the agenda.  All agreed

UNSCHEDULED GUESTS IN ATTENDANCE:

Andrew Spader, Anne Hubbard, Bill Thorson, Bob Hannan, Brittany Nelson, Cathy Kuhr, Cheri Else, Cody Morris, Diane Ellis, Emily Humm, Emily Muth, Gregory Larson, Jason Lee, Jody Nelson, Jody Weible, John Knot, Julie Pelster, June Moline, Kacee Weible, Karol Osterloh, Linda Sweet, Lisa Siebenaler, Mary Vogt, Maureen Freeman-Caddy, Michelle Sloup, Pastor John Schnell, Pastor Quinlen Koch, Paula Dyas, Paul Knott, Randy Rupert, Ray Loftus, Rich Kuhr, Roger Pelster, Steve Mossman, Steven DeGunia, Tom Ellis

The Chair called for a motion to adjourn to a Public Hearing. Robert motioned, and Connie seconded.  All Agreed.

The Hearing called to order with roll call.

The chairman stated the purpose of the Public Hearing is to hear the testimony of support, opposition, criticism, suggestions, or observations with regards to the following:

Application to consider the revocation of Ordinance No. 655, Conditional Use Permit to AltEn and Mead Cattle Company

Chairman called for public input:

Steve Mossman, legal counsel for AltEn, spoke on behalf of AltEn and requested suspension of AltEn’s Conditional Use Permit in lieu of revoking the permit in question.

On behalf of AltEn LLC and Tanner Shaw, Mr. Mossman offered the following recommendations related to the AltEn Conditional Use Permit suspension, signed by Mr. Shaw.

  1. AltEn, LLC (“AltEn”) was granted a Conditional Use Permit (“CUP”) by the Village of Mead Board of Trustees on or about November 11, 2014 on real estate as described in Ordinance No. 655 which is incorporated herein by reference.
  1. The CUP allowed the operation of an ethanol plant and related agricultural processing facilities described as “Operation of a 24,000,00 gallon per year ethanol plan and 8,000,000-gallon anaerobic digestion facility.”
  1. The Village of Mead has set for public Hearing before the Village of Mead Planning Commission and the Village of Mead Board of Trustees revocation of the CUP granted through Ordinance No. 655.
  1. In the event the Village of Mead agrees to suspend the CUP, AltEn agrees to the same without further objection, provided that such suspension allows AltEn and any third parties to conduct remediation and cleanup on the real estate as described in the Ordinance No. 655 which shall be monitored and subject to the regulation of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.
  1. Specifically, AltEn may be required to operate filtration systems for lagoon water and water stored in the digestor and tanks, build berms, remove wet distillers grains, conduct testing and perhaps remediation of ground and surface water, and conduct other activities reasonably related to remediation and cleanup, which shall be monitored and subject to the regulation of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.
  1. To the extent that the biochar unit owned and sited on real property owned by Green Disposal Mead, LLC f/k/a Greencycle Solutions, LLC is located within the zoning jurisdiction of the Village of Mead, AltEn agrees to operate the biochar unit only for remediation purposes subject to monitoring and regulation by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.
  1. Nothing in this suspension shall allow AltEn to operate in any manner its facilities for production of ethanol or any related products. AltEn will not operate its facilities to produce ethanol without the prior approval of the Village of Mead Board of Trustees.
  1. Further, such suspension shall not impact any further application for a CUP for the real estate described in Ordinance No. 655.

Mr. Mossman was asked multiple questions related to the current level and frequency of oversite by the NDEE.  Mr. Mossman was also asked about possible cooperation between AltEn and the University of Nebraska related to an ongoing environmental study of areas impacted by contamination from the AltEn property.  Mr. Mossman was also asked about AltEn’s willingness to allow greater oversite of the cleanup by local officials.

Mr. Mossman was unable or unwilling to share: information on the current state of the site cleanup, remediation processes, long-term remediation plan, remediation timetable, oversite specifics, or AltEn’s willingness to work with a local authority for greater oversite.

Maureen Freeman-Caddy, legal counsel for the Village of Mead, spoke about specific violations to the AltEn Conditional Use Permit.  She also presented documentation for the planning board’s review, including Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Cases No. 3483, 3475, 3469 and the suit filed against AltEn LLC on March 1, 2021 by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.

Ms. Freeman-Caddy also explained multiple options available to the Planning Board related to suspension and/or revocation of the AltEn Conditional Use Permit.  These options included but were not limited to stipulations applied to a permit suspension or revocation.

Multiple community members spoke in favor of suspension and or revocation of the AltEn Conditional Use Permit, including Ray Loftus, Cody Morris, Emily Humm, Lisa Siebenaler, Gregory Larson, Jody Weible, Paula Dyas, and Pastor John Schnell.

Following public input, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn from the Public Hearing and return to the regular session.

Robert motioned, and Connie seconded.  All agreed.

Following discussion by the planning board regarding public input about the suspension and or revocation of Ordinance No 655, AltEn LLC’s Conditional Use Permit, the Planning Board recommended no action until a future special meeting allowing board members additional time to consider the information presented.

The Chair called for a motion to table the issue until a special meeting, to be held May 19, 2021, at 7:30 pm.

Jim motioned, and Connie seconded.   All Agreed.

At 9:35 pm, the Chair called for an adjournment. Levi motioned, and James seconded.

All agreed.