COLUMBUS, Minn. (AP) — Supporters of a proposed asphalt plant in an eastern Minnesota city say the development would generate jobs, but opponents say it's not worth the traffic, noise and odors from the facility.

Columbus City Council will vote Wednesday on a zoning change that would put Bituminous Roadways' asphalt plant one step closer to construction, the Pioneer Press ( ) reported.

Residents and business owners expressed concerns about potential health issues, increased traffic, noise and smell at a planning commission public hearing about the plant last month.

The commission voted 3 to 2 to recommend City Council change the site's zoning from light industrial to commercial industrial and to allow the company to build on the land.

The company plans to send 250 trucks to construction sites daily after the plant is completed.

Running Aces Casino and Racetrack is near the proposed plant's location. Racetrack CEO Taro Ito said he doesn't want the trucks driving by his racetrack every day. He said City Council should conduct environmental impact studies before it votes.

Bituminous CEO Kent Peterson said the company has a good record of complying with environmental regulations.

"I want to be a positive member of the Columbus business community," Peterson said.

The asphalt from the Columbus plant would stay local and go to construction sites within a 15-mile radius of the facility. Peterson said the plant will provide jobs that pay well and can support families.

Peterson hopes to start construction on the plant in the fall and have it operational by next summer.

The company has plants in Minneapolis, Inver Grove Heights and Shakopee.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press,