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Dog food plant could open in fall 2011
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RIPON - The 228,000-square-foot Diamond Dog Food plant slated to locate in Ripon’s industrial park got the nod of City Council members last Tuesday night declaring the lack of an environmental impact to the industrial site.

In addition to a favorable look at the new industry coming into the city, the council opted to change an existing Highway Services zone at the Save Mart Shopping Center to a more liberal Community Commercial zone.

Diamond sells their product wholesale to retailers such as Costco under the Kirkland brand name.  Planning Director Kenny Zuidervaart said the firm plans to add a mill tower for processing the dog food which will increase the former 200,000-square-foot paper mill by 28,000 square feet.

Plans call for the hiring of about 100 employees, he said.  The company hopes to close escrow with Neenah Paper Company by the end of September.  A company spokesman was quoted as saying the plant transition is expected to take about a year with the plant opening in the early fall of 2011.

The plant location sits on 157 acres of land in the 900 block of South Stockton Avenue where it is within the heavy industrial (M2) zone.  

Zuidervaart said that Diamond plans to maintain its own waste water plant and use its existing water wells on the property and will not need those city services.  And while it will not generate any sales tax revenue for the city, it is providing more jobs for the community, staffers said.

Councilman Red Nutt questioned the possible smell from the plant and was told that in checking with the Lathrop dog food facility they could find no public complaints.  Their equipment will be brought into the site on an existing railroad siding.

The council voted to change the Highway 99 shopping center zone to Community Commercial after the shopping center owners complained that the existing zoning was preventing them from renting out their empty business fronts to operations that did not strictly service Highway 99-oriented enterprises.

The business locations to be affected are on West Colony Road, Goodwin Drive and Brady Lane.