WisBusiness: Sparta Council to consider ethanol referendum

By Gregg Hoffmann

SPARTA – The Sparta Common Council will consider a proposal to hold a Nov. 6 advisory referendum on a proposed ethanol plant at its Tuesday meeting.

Supporters and opponents of the plant, proposed by Coulee Area Renewable Energy LLC (CARE), made what now are familiar arguments at a public hearing Monday night.

Controversy over the location of the ethanol plant has gone on for months. Officials of Century Foods International, the largest employer in Sparta, have opposed the location of the plant because they fear emissions could taint their milk products. CARE denies that.

The hearings on Monday were held by the city Planning Commission, which is considering rezoning for the plant and a conditional use permit.

If the Council opts Tuesday for the referendum, commission and council votes on rezoning and a commission vote on a conditional-use permit could come in November. The conditional-use permit doesn’t require council approval.