October 3, 2013

With the ink not yet dry on a deal to sell Bauer Built, Vaughn and Lori Bauer are in the early stages of creating their next enterprise, another manufacturing facility across the road from Bauer Built in Paton. The county zoning commission held a public hearing Sept. 26 to consider requests for rezoning approximately 42 acres in two separate parcels for the new facility.

Attorney David Hoyt spoke for the Bauers. He said John Deere will continue to build planters just as Bauer Built has, but "there are some types of equipment John Deere will want Vaughn and Lori to still manufacture."

The new facility, which Hoyt did not name, will be built on the north side of County Road E-18 east of Trinity Avenue on a 38-acre parcel formerly owned by L.E. Doran, and a 4-acre parcel adjacent to the north, just north of 125th Street.

Hoyt told the zoning commission that Deere will continue to employ about 150 persons.

The new Bauer facility will employ 30 to 40 more.

"From Vaughn and Lori's perspective, this is a tremendous opportunity to expand jobs and the tax base, to do it again," Hoyt said.

The county has already submitted an application for a $480,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation's Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy (RISE) program. RISE funds are to be used for improving or maintaining highway access to promote economic development. The funds, if approved, would be used for the needed road improvements at the new site.

The property is currently zoned agricultural. The Bauers requested a change to industrial.

At the same public hearing, the zoning commission considered a request to change the zoning on two parcels on which the current Bauer Built facility stands. Those parcels on the south side of E-18 just east of the Paton city limit have been zoned commercial. The manufacturing done there complies with zoning regulations for commercial property, but Hoyt said industrial zoning would be more correct. According to Hoyt, the county assessor has taxed the property as industrial for years.

The public hearing was attended by four nearby landowners and lasted about 25 minutes. Their questions were primarily about where road improvements would be done and how the new site would be monitored for any potential environmental impact.

The zoning commission approved a recommendation to the county board of supervisors to make the changes as requested. In making the motion for the recommendation, zoning commissioner Brian Hunter said, "I look at how many jobs it will be for the county, and I don't think it's going to bother anybody."

The county board of supervisors will hold public hearings on the proposed zoning changes Oct. 21.