The Kootenai County commissioners voted 2-1 last week to grant Idaho Forest Group a permit to expand its 251.6-acre Chilco Mill onto another 46.5 acres. The vote followed a public hearing continued from last week, to allow for a site visit.
The conditional use permit, allowing the lumber company to improve operations at the site, had been protested by neighbors of the mill worried about water supply impacts and increased noise pollution. “That’s a high concern of mine, after my relatives were here and stayed at a hotel because they couldn’t stand the noise,” Kristine Marsan, a neighbor of the mill, told the officials before their deliberations. “They said they couldn’t do it. Too much clanging and banging.”
But Commissioner Dan Green, who voted in favor of the project, noted that the expansion would allow the Athol mill to consolidate operations and make work more efficient. “It’s weighing building economic prosperity versus the needs of local residents,” Green said.
The three elected officials also approved a variance allowing mill buildings to be only 160 feet from a nearby residence, instead of the usual 1,000 feet.
According to the project narrative, expanding onto two adjacent parcels will allow for the relocation of the mill’s parking lot, storage pond and piping network to allow for additional lumber storage. IFG also plans to construct a 130-foot portal crane to store and water logs more efficiently at the mill. More space is also expected to provide separate room for truck scales, truck tarping and turnaround to relieve lumberyard traffic congestion.
From The North Idaho Business Journal: http://nibusinessjournal.com/?s=Idaho+Forest+Group&x=23&y=8