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Perdue Proposes Soybean Plant

on .

Lancaster (Lancaster OnLine, March 9, 2012): Representatives of Perdue AgriBusiness gave Conoy supervisors a preview Thursday of a $59 million soybean processing plant the company wants to build in the township.  But official township review of the plant will be less extensive than previous efforts to build on the 57-acre parcel next to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management's waste-to-energy plant.  The site along Route 441 has twice been considered for distilleries for corn ethanol fuel, but neither project came to fruition. Those projects were subject to conditional-use hearings, but review of the soybean plant will be less extensive because industrial zoning allows it as a permitted use on the property.

At the meeting, Perdue was not submitting an official application, only providing general information about the company and how soybeans would be processed at the Conoy plant.  Gregory Rowe, Perdue AgriBusiness' senior director of operations, gave a brief lesson on how the plant would annually process more than a billion pounds of soybeans into meal, oil and hulls. The meal and hulls would be sold to the feed industry while the oil would be refined into edible oil for the snack industry or used as biofuels.

The plant would have about 35 employees and generate 100 to 125 daily truck trips. Rowe said the company decided against using railcars to service the plant because it would require the addition of a spur to the rail line.

Rowe said a partnership with the authority to sell steam from the trash-to-energy plan was crucial in choosing the site. With energy from the incinerator, the soybean plant wouldn't need to install a boiler to operate the plant.

Perdue officials said they plan to hold a future open house, likely at the Bainbridge Fire Company, where residents can learn more about the plant.

While the soybean plant won't be subject to conditional-use hearings at the township level, Conoy's zoning hearing board will review a variance request related to the height of one of the buildings at a March 22 meeting.

If the zoning variance is approved, a land development plan would be reviewed at the county level. Since that review will include a traffic study, township supervisors would have input on any improvements recommended for township roads.

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