The Port of Whitman County submitted its rezoning application and a State Environmental Policy Act checklist to the city of Pullman on Thursday for a proposed biodiesel plant.
The port is continuing to push forward with its proposed Agricultural Advancement Campus, of which the biodiesel plant would be the anchor tenant. The proposed 550,000-square-foot facility would be placed partly within Pullman’s western city limits in Industrial Research Park.
Its application requests approval from the city of Pullman for use of Industrial Research Park and commercial zoning. The checklist will help the city determine if the project poses a significant environmental risk, according to a Pullman news release.
AgTech OS, a local startup company, is the organization that may build and run the biodiesel plant, according to past reporting. The plant would process virgin canola into fuel.
The proposed site in Industrial Research Park is more than 180 acres south of Old Wawawai Road right outside Pullman city limits, according to past reporting. Around 80 acres of the land would be within city limits, which is near the Whispering Hills subdivision and the Pullman School District.
The site’s location was chosen because it’s near Washington State Route 195 and has access to city water, according to past reporting.
Port commissioners agreed to buy the land south of Old Wawawai Road on Jan. 25. The government agency has a 120-day period during which it can back out of the deal for any reason. If the land purchase agreement stays, the port must apply for a rezone. If the rezone is approved, the port must carry out the purchase of the property.
The recently submitted rezoning application includes a public park, residential commercial and green spaces as part of its preliminary plan, according to a news release from the port. All other zoning is to Industrial Research Park, encompassing manufacturing uses like vegetable oil milling, grain milling, fruit and vegetable canning and a conditional use permit to operate on the campus.
As the application is reviewed, the city of Pullman will first announce a preliminary determination of the State Environmental Policy Act requirement, according to the city’s news release. Once presented, a 14-day public comment period will follow.
After the public comment period has ended and the environmental review is completed, the rezone application will be added to the planning commission’s meeting agenda. According to the news release, the planning commission would then formulate a recommendation to be presented to the Pullman City Council.
The council would then choose to either approve, deny or remand the port’s request to the planning commission, according to the news release. If approved by the City Council, local and state permitting would follow.
Rezoning requests and permitting processes will provide opportunities of public comment as the application goes through review, recommendations and hearings.