GOSHEN — One of the longest-running industrial operations in Goshen will be able to meet city requirements for sewer discharge after a decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday.

Dairy Farmers of America, which operates a 4.4-acre dairy processing plant at 1110 9th St., requested a number of variances in order to put up three wastewater treatment silos and a containment structure in the northwest corner of the property. The plant uses Goshen sewer services but is not connected to city water, and the company received a notice of violation in December 2018 about the wastewater that was being discharged.

Wastewater from milk processing has to be treated differently from sanitary wastewater before entering public sewers, according to information given to the BZA. The company developed its treatment plan after working with the city to find a solution.

Zoning variances were needed to enact the plan because the silos are 49 feet tall, in an area where 35 feet is the limit, and because the setback between the containment structure and Burdick Street is only about half of the 30 feet required. 

City planning staff recommended granting the variances because the silos are still shorter than other structures on the property, which include two 72-foot-tall milk storage silos, according to Assistant Planning and Zoning Administrator Rossa Deegan. They also reasoned that the development of the industrial corridor along 9th Street includes many structures that don’t comply with current setback requirements in the Zoning Ordinance.

Deegan also noted that the Dairy Farmers of America property has operated as a dairy processing facility for decades – the Planning Department has records dating back to the early 1960s showing development of the facility for milk processing, and the property deed shows it was owned by a milk company in 1941. Dairy Farmers of America has made a number of improvements to the property in recent years, and Assistant Plant Manager John Brown noted that the site has a history going back to 1909.

Continuing to use the property this way would require a significant update to on-site wastewater treatment, which the proposed structures would satisfy, according to Deegan. He said the treatment solution would alleviate some of the pressure that the plant puts on the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

“It helps us help the city,” Brown told the BZA.

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