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Permit fee for CHS building project fee stays at $1 million

SPIRITWOOD, N.D. — The planned CHS nitrogen fertilizer plant will pay about $1 million to Spiritwood Township for a building permit if it proceeds with construction.

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The Spiritwood Township Board of Supervisors didn’t modify the existing permit fee structure during its meeting Monday.

By not taking action, the township will use its existing fee structure of $1 per $1,000 of construction cost. The plant is in the planning stages with an estimated total cost of about $1.5 billion. Actual construction cost is estimated at $1 billion.

“I think the fee is fundamentally too high for everyone,” said Clarence Daniels, chairman of the board.

Other board members disagreed.

“This will lead to a lot of stress on the community,” said George Quigley, township supervisor, referring to the planned CHS project. “I would like to have the company here, but they should pay the fee.”

Quigley and Mike Scott, also a township supervisor, said early in the discussion that capping the fee at between $250,000 and $300,000 was possible. They did not make a motion to cap the fee, and the idea faded as members of the public spoke in favor of keeping the current fee structure.

“I’m not against them coming here,” said Dwight Kendall, resident of Spiritwood Township who lives within 200 feet of the main road that will access the project. “But I have these concerns and it is not out of line to get something for what we are giving up.”

Kendall said he recently had to extend his well deeper to reach water. He said additional industrial water use could force him to incur those expenses again.

Road concerns were another issue voiced by the public attending the meeting.

“The township will not be required to build any roads,” said David Schwartz, Stutsman County commissioner attending the meeting. “The county will be responsible for building and maintaining all roads involved in the project.”

Daniels said building permit fees were not part of the township’s budgeted income. If CHS moves forward with the plant and pays the fee, it could result in the township not levying a property tax for about five years.

Scott also said the township should explore contracting for additional law enforcement services at least during the construction phase of the project.

CHS representatives attending the meeting did not address the meeting, but said they were there to listen to the discussion.

“We came here to see if there was any flexibility,” said Dan Mack, vice president for rail transportation and terminal operations for CHS. “We see they are staying with the status quo. We are thankful they gave as much attention as they did to this matter.”

A final decision on the project is expected from CHS in January or February.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at