Safety was the greatest concern raised at a public hearing Thursday by residents who live near a proposed anhydrous ammonia distribution facility in north Scott County. Several mentioned worries about crashes on rural roads near the facility on 290th Street about a mile from Scott Park Road.

Crop Production Services is seeking a zoning change from agricultural preservation to agricultural floating to put the business use on the site.

The request was approved by the county’s planning and zoning commission 6-1 in November. The Board of Supervisors, which held Thursday’s public hearing, will vote on the request at its Jan. 17 meeting.

Nancy Phelps, who lives across the road from the proposed site, said she understands the need for business competition for farmers but worried about a spill that could affect her family.

“I worry about the evacuation plan,” she said. “I think there is a better, safer location.”

Several residents spoke about traffic concerns in the area, leading to crashes that could release anhydrous into the air.

Michael Feldpausch, who lives about a mile west of the site but visits Scott County Park often, worried about how golfers at Glynns Creek Golf Course or hikers in the park would be warned about a possible spill.

“It is not the site itself,” he said. “It’s the distribution routes.

“This material is extremely hazardous. There’s a lot of people who would be affected by an accident.”

County engineer Jon Burgstrum said he would be open to doing a speed study on 290th Street, also known as St. Ann’s Road, but said it would be difficult because of the seasonal use of the site and getting people to recognize a speed change there. He also suggested that adding another distribution center might make rural roads safer.

“Anhydrous has been hauled all over the county from Eldridge and Dixon,” Burgstrum said. “This facility might shorten some of those hauls.”

Crop Production Services officials said the site would be in use four months of the year — two months in the spring and two months in the fall — for farmers to apply the chemical.

Dan Rebarchak, whose house is to the west of the proposed site, said he is concerned about Crop Production Services’ environmental and safety records, noting Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety Health Administration violations.

Mike Holst, president of the Scott County Farm Bureau, said his members met with company representatives and asked a number of questions, especially about safety. The farm bureau supports the project.

“As a county, as a state, we should do everything we can to promote business,” Holst said. “We can’t say no every time a business wants to expand.”