Bond, Compost Plant Bond

I watched the first public hearing in St. Lucie County to consider the county’s first-ever ordinance regulating commercial composting plants.

The crowd there and planning commissioners didn’t share the optimistic assertion contained in the Polk County staff report accompanying December’s permit hearing for BS Ranch & Farm.

“There is no data to suggest that the soil manufacturing facility will be detrimental to the surrounding environment if developed according to the County’s standards,” the Polk staff report read.

One topic that generated a lot discussion at the St. Lucie hearing was how high a bond any applicant should post to guarantee enough money to clean up the site if the owners abandon it.

Polk’s ordinance doesn’t include such a requirement. That allowed BS Ranch’s reps to argue against a shutdown for serial code violations at the code enforcement hearing, raising the specter about the undesirable impact of their shutdown while tons of material remained unprocessed .

If there were financial responsibility provisions in Polk’s ordinance, that argument would be less persuasive.

Although it doesn’t apply to the Eaton Park plant site, a Florida Farm Bureau represented raised an issue that should be considered in an agricultural county such as Polk—food safety—if anyone proposes to build one of these plants .

It seems that there’s a consensus that crops being grown around these plants might be hard to sell because of the contamination threat.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.