MONMOUTH -- City leaders will consider this summer a zone change that would pave the way for an expansion of Marr Brothers Bark Dust.
Owners James and Penny Marr applied in April for an amendment to Monmouth's comprehensive plan regarding the zoning on their 26-acre parcel off Highway 99W.
The 10 southernmost acres are currently used to process bark and yard waste into bark dust and sawdust, with piles of the wood products at the eastern edge.
The Marrs want to use their currently vacant 16 acres to the north as a retail yard, where customers can purchase bark, soil and other materials, said Monmouth Community Development Director Mark Fancey.
The property is unincorporated, but sits in the city's urban growth boundary. Monmouth has the land designated in the future as low-density residential. The Marrs are seeking an industrial zoning.
In their application, the Marrs' land-use consultant, Frank Walker, said the southernmost acres are "filled to capacity" and that more space is needed to allow for more, but smaller bark dust piles; high ones can be fire and air quality hazards.
The need also stems from increased yard recycling in Monmouth and Independence, and the demand for sawdust for bedding by the local wine grape and blueberry industries, Walker said.
Fancey said the Marrs, who have run the local business since the mid-1980s, would have to receive their amendment through the city, and file for a zone change with Polk County, as well.
He added there have been some concerns voiced by nearby community members regarding noise and particulate matter they believe would arise from the operation growing.
Walker noted the use of industrial machinery on the property would remain limited to where it currently is on the south side; "it won't be brought out to the new area," he said.
A hearing before the Planning Commission that was to have taken place today (Wednesday, June 16) was delayed so that the Marrs could provide more details on their plans, Walker said.
"We're going to work on resolving both technical issues and some issues with the neighbors," he said.
The commission will hear the Marrs' proposal later this summer, Fancey said.