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Canyon County Planning and Zoning Commission votes against Parma sorghum plant

The harvesting of sorghum. File photo.

A sorghum harvest. File photo.

The Canyon County Planning and Zoning Commission has voted against endorsing the zone change needed for the construction of a sorghum processing plant outside of Parma.

Treasure Valley Renewables, a new company in Canyon County with plans to create paper food containers out of the grass-like plant sorghum, is seeking to build a sorghum processing plant near the intersection of Highway 95 and Highway 26 outside of Parma. But first it must win approval to have the property rezoned from agricultural use to heavy industrial.

The Commission voted 6-1 on Dec. 15 against recommending the zone change after listening to public testimony about increased traffic in the area.

Treasure Valley Renewables will continue to pursue the project and plans to ask Canyon County commissioners to go against the commission’s recommendation, said Tina Wilson, executive director at Western Alliance for Economic Development, which supports the creation of the processing plant.

“It does happen,” Wilson said about county commissioners approving rezones not supported by the commission. “The Planning and Zoning Commission did not give a recommendation in favor of the project, however the decision rests with the county commissioners and the organization will continue to pursue this.”

No date has been set for the county commissioners’ vote on the rezone request.

Western Alliance for Economic Development estimates that the sorghum plant would create about 75 jobs with an average salary of $45,000 if approved.

About Benton Alexander Smith

Benton Alexander Smith is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering the Idaho Legislature, new business, technology and financial services.