PARMA - There's a difficult balance for many small towns like Parma in these modern times, trying to protect the town's culture while balancing industrial economic opportunities that come knocking.
"Project Big" will bring new businesses to Parma. And while it is still in the planning process, locals are firing back - saying they want nothing to do with it before it even starts.
Diana Sitts lives right across the street from a 48-acre lot of farmland that could look much different in a year and a half.
"I have been here all my life, wanted to retire here in a peaceful farming community which I was raised in," said Sitts.
It could be the future home of not one, but three new businesses.
"I was just heartsick," said Sitts.
Butch Wilkins bought the home next door to Sitts one year ago with the dream of retiring in Parma.
"This is prime farm area, we don't need to give up anymore farmland at all to put in something like this," said Wilkins.
The project includes Boise Biogas that will produce biogas from cow manure and commercial biowaste, DualFuels Technology which cleans the biogas then sells it to truck operators, and Bio AG Resources.
"What they'll be producing is a fiber-molded product much like you see in fast-food restaurants like paper plates, bowls," said President of Treasure Valley Renewables Jim McCune.
McCune also says the goal of this project - to be environmentally responsible when it comes to waste.
"We use all of the resources that the project will produce," said McCune. "There won't be any waste from it. There's not going to be any contamination to the air, ground or water."
This proposal has come with tremendous backlash from the community.
"I have not heard any positive from the people in the community," said Sitts. "Why don't they take it somewhere where it's not populated?"
"As far as I'm concerned it needs to be someplace else," said Wilkins.
There are concerns relating to pollution, traffic and odor. McCune says the company has all of that covered.
"The entire project will be housed in a building that'll have soundproofing, it'll have odor reduction capabilities," said McCune.
They also have a preliminary approval from the Idaho Transportation Department to build an access road which will take trucks off of Shelton Road. The project isn't just new to Canyon County.
"This is the first of its kind where three projects are co-located like this we can have a totally sustainable complex," said McCune.
"That being said, how do they know what is going to actually be the results of it?" asked Sitts.
Treasure Valley Renewables has the land under contract, but they still have to go through a zoning process before they can move forward.
If they are able to purchase the land and proceed, McCune tells me the project would take 18 months to complete. He stressed, however, how important it is to have the community's support before they move on. They also say the project will bring around 70 jobs to the area.
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