Andover grows to make room for new business

Annexation approved at contentious meeting

Andover is growing, quite literally – and the hope is the town will continue to grow after a decision last week will allow a new business to operate entirely within the borders of that community.

A public meeting was held May 10 in which the governing body of the town voted to annex the Meathouse #2 Addition into the town although it was not an unanimous vote. One of the three-member board voted against the motion.

Board member Charlene Voss said she wanted the proposed business owners to agree to a conditional use agreement with the town before she was willing to throw her support behind the annexation. She initially made a motion to annex with those conditions but rescinded her motion when they said they would not provide a business plan, state sales tax license and other licenses as part of the request. The motion to annex that passed was made by board president Ilene Helmer, second by John Grimsrud.

The property in question is on the northwest corner of town, north of the railroad tracks, between there and U.S. Hwy. 12, owned by Brad and Diann Morehouse. Half of their property was in the county. The Morehouses and their family are proposing to build a butcher plant. The Morehouses have said the facility would be federally inspected.

The Morehouses have already been approved for a building permit and were previously approved to connect to the town’s sewer system.

But the Morehouses now say they desire to construct a holding pond rather than hook up to the sewer system. Helms & Associates engineer Leif Redlinger – who is employed by both the Morehouses and the town of Andover – explained anything that goes into the holding ponds has already gone through a multi-phase filtration septic system. While an overflow of the ponds would not be impossible, Redlinger said it would be “abnormal.” Redlinger added the engineers got their estimates based on as much water flow data they could get – as far back as 100 years.

Andover resident David Baule expressed concerns over a recovery system. He asked, “when something goes bad, who’s responsible for that?” Redlinger said the Morehouses would be held by the state to the same discharge regulations as the town. He also said any overflow would be handled through the town’s existing sewer system. The Morehouse’s system, he said, would only be pumping wastewater, not solids.

Brad Morehouse questioned why they should be held to a higher standard than even the town is. He pointed out there is no recovery system in place for the town’s lagoon when it overflows.

“We’re trying to do something good for the town,” Brad Morehouse said. “We didn’t just move to town last week. We’ve been here. We’re not here to destroy the town. We’ve been here. This city means something to us. My personal thought is it will not smell. We are small, small – not like Aberdeen.”

Morehouse said as a proposed 1,500-head facility, they will average four animals per day. Additionally, as a federally inspected facility, he said they have to have an office space for the federal inspector who will be on-site daily.

“We’re trying to help the city,” Morehouse continued. “This city is our town too.”

Andover currently has only two businesses from which they collect two percent sales tax. The butcher shop would add to what the town will bring in for annual sales tax.

After the vote to approve the annexation passed, Morehouse thanked the board. Besides Brad and Diann Morehouse, the meathouse will be owned and operated with their sons and son-in-law.