Oronoco Auto Parts rezoning for smelter denied - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Oronoco Auto Parts rezoning for smelter denied

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ORONOCO, Minn. (KTTC) -

A proposal was introduced in September of last year to install a smelter in the Oronoco Auto Parts lot.

A smelter is high-temperature furnace. It would be used to melt down certain auto parts, like converters or batteries.

The lot, which is east of the downtown area near the Zumbro river, is currently zoned as a B-2 district or High Density Commercial zone. That would have to change for the smelter to be built.

The rezoning was the topic of discussion for a public forum Thursday night at Oronoco City Hall.

Nearby residents were already concerned about the noise already produced at the auto recycling facility.

"It defies logic that anyone would bring this into a neighborhood," said Oronoco resident Laurie Christopherson. "We don't need more noise, traffic, diesel smells into our neighborhood or wear and tear onto the roads in our neighborhood. Please vote no against this rezoning effort."

The vote was unanimous. The rezoning was denied.

While the residents were pleased with this decision, some fear Oronoco Auto Parts will attempt to install the smelter on a different part of its lot which is in a separate township from the city of Oronoco. 

Oronoco resident Brandon Evans says, "At the last township meeting they informed us that they are going to be moving this metal melting operation from the city side over to the township side, which is 500 feet away, its just in a different jurisdiction," speaker and Oronoco resident Brandon Evans said. It doesn't solve any of the problems, it just moves them somewhere else so now instead of going to the city we would have to go to the township to get it dealt with."

Nobody representing Oronoco Auto Parts attended Thursday's meeting.

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