Residents concerned over malt, barley operation


Shown above, outlined in red, is the plot of land a New Albany malting company hopes to get rezoned from light to heavy manufacturing. The change would allow the company to build a malting facility in addition to barley fields planned for the land.
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Residents had some concerns about the rezoning of property near Weaver Road that would allow the cultivation and malting of barley at Tuesday’s planning commission meeting.
Brandon Hess, speaking for Ohio Crafted Malt House, LLC, spoke to the city’s planning commission about why the company is pushing for the 286-acre area to go from light to heavy manufacturing. The commission ended up voting 5-1 to recommend Marysville City Council rezones the plot.
Paul Grimm, of Weaver Road, asked what the company planned to do to mitigate the odor that comes from malting barley. Grimm said he works for Columbus Distributing and is familiar with the brewing process.
“That odor is not going to be contained at that little site there, it’s going to kind of go all over Marysville,” he said.
The company plans on building a barley malting facility on the site. Light manufacturing zoning does not allow malting of any kind. It would need to move to heavy manufacturing to allow the facility to come to the area.
The malts would be supplied specifically to craft breweries in and around Ohio, which Hess said often pay five times the normal amount for locally malted barley.
“It would be the first of its kind in the nation specifically focused on craft brew,” he said.
Hess said he also hopes for a partnership between the malting company and the neighboring Heritage Cooperative facility.
Victor Thorne, also with the malting company, said the facility will only be taking the grain from the fields
“We’re not boiling or creating any slush or slog or anything that creates the smells of vomit,” he said.
The proposed facility will only do “base malt” malting. The pungent smell comes from barley that is further along in the malting process. Thorne said if they do end up providing more complete malting services, it will be in much smaller batches.
Grimm noted the malting company is based in New Albany, which he said has plenty of farmland for this project.
“Does it not raise any red flags that a New Albany company wants to build in Marysville?” he said. “There’s plenty of farmland out that was that they could purchase.”
Hess said the company chose Marysville because of its proximity to Heritage Cooperative, a good amount of acreage for the project and the aquifer below the property the company hopes to tap into.
“Trust me, I would love to put this in my backyard, and I would,” he said.
Douglas Dellinger, of Weaver Road, asked where access to the property would be. Since the property doesn’t actually border Weaver Road, there is seemingly nowhere for an access road to connect to the facility. City Planner Chad Flowers said access will be figured with the help of the City and County Engineers further along in the process.
“We’re still working on access,” Hess said.
J.C. Notenstine, of Weaver Road, asked if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had reviewed possible emissions of the operation. Hess said the EPA is in the process of reviewing the project.
Hess emphasized throughout the meeting that many of the aspects of the project were still being worked out. The project itself, he said, was partly dependent on whether they could get the land rezoned.
Flowers said any project of this scale will be subject to a traffic impact study.
Hess said the facility itself will take up about 40 acres of the property. The intent, he said, isn’t to create a huge industrial complex.
Thorne agreed, saying much of the building will be partly devoted to research into year-round barley growth in cooperation with a researcher at the Ohio State University. The facility will “run clean,” with no bio-hazardous waste being made.
“We’re looking at technologies that could cap the emissions,” he said.
Commission member Virginia Golan asked if the board could recommend those 40 acres be rezoned, since that’s the only area the company will use for malting.
Hess said his company isn’t sure what the final design of the facility will be. Until then, they want the entire plot rezoned so they’re not constricted to a certain area.
“We don’t quite know where we’re going to position the thing yet,” he said.

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