The City of Atlantic’s Planning and Zoning Commission will meet Tuesday evening at City Hall. One of the topics of discussion during the meeting that begins at 5:30-p.m., Tuesday under “New Business,” is the Poet, LLC ethanol rail site, located north of the Rock Island Depot on north Chestnut Street.
City Administrator Doug Harris told KJAN news earlier this week that City Zoning Administrator John Lund issued a “Stop Work” order, which required Poet to cease construction of an ethanol “transloading station in Atlantic, because it did so without the City’s permission.
An e-mail to Atlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees from Rail Portfolio Manager Christian McIlvain, said as many as eight railcars at any given time will be loaded at the transloading station, each of which will be equipped with track spill pans to serve as a spill containment. The company intends to transload fuel from tanker trucks coming to town from Coon Rapids, into as many as 25 railcars, weekly. Physical movement of the cars will be handled by crews with Iowa Interstate Railroad.
City officials and others met with representatives from Poet Thursday morning. City Attorney Dave Wiederstein has acknowledged federal law pertaining to rail operations prohibits the City from stopping the project, but they City does have a say when it comes to the project complying with electrical, plumbing and fire codes.
City officials are concerned about public safety and wear and tear on Commerce Street (the main access road to the transloading site), but officials with Poet have said they are willing to work with the City with regard to any damage and repair of the street. And, Atlantic Fire Chief McNees told KJAN News he’s satisfied the company will have the proper safety precautions in-place when the stations are built.