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Brownstown Council Takes Stand Against Confined Animal Feeding Operation
Updated May 5, 2013 1:08 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(BROWNSTOWN) - The town council took a unanimous stance Wednesday against plans for building a 4,000 head confined animal feeding operation about a mile east of town.

"I'll be the first to vote no," long-time council member Bill Sweeney said of Grant
VonDielingen's proposal for a hog farm.

VonDielingen has won state approval for his project and will present his request for a special exception to the county Board of Zoning Appeals at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14.

After allowing Joe Bradley, a resident of Lake & Forest Club east of town, to discuss concerns he and others have about the proposal, the council spent little time making a decision about a matter it has discussed several times.

"I think we need to go ahead and take care of this now," council President John Nolting said.

Council member Dustin Steward said he wanted to make it clear the council is not opposed to VonDielingen's proposal, just its location.

The council voted 4-0 on council member Ben Lewis' motion.

Nolting, who does not vote except in the case of a tie vote, said he would attend the county Board of Zoning Appeals and speak about the council's stance.

Because the town has no zoning department, it has no official role in VonDielingen's request before the county zoning board.

Nolting said Wednesday the town soon will examine how it could implement local zoning regulations.

Bradley and others have publicly discussed their concerns about the proposal, including a potential decline in property values and the loss of property tax revenues, the possibility of a decline in tourism and potential contaminants in the air and water supplies.

He said the council needs to stand up and be heard.

"Protect our town, our neighbors and our future," Bradley said.

VonDielingen told the council during a public hearing on July 19 that he spent a year and a half researching possible locations for the feeding operation and that the one he picked is the best in terms of location.

The resolution passed Wednesday mirrors the position taken last week by the Brownstown Chamber of Commerce. It said that it, too, supports VonDielingen's business plan but opposes a location so close to town.

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