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Hog Farm Debate Continues In Brownstown

Last updated on Friday, August 10, 2012

(BROWNSTOWN) - Jackson County commissioners will voice no stance on a proposed hog farm a mile east of Brownstown.

Aubrey Woods of the Tribune reports that commissioners decided they will not take a stand on a Brownstown man's plans to build a 4,000-head confined animal feeding operation.

"I really don't know what we can do at this point to allow it or stop it," commissioners President Jerry Hounshel said in reference to Grant VonDielingen's proposed operation. Joe Bradley, who lives at the Lake & Forest Club, about a mile from the proposed farm east of town, asked commissioners to stand against the location of VonDielingen's proposed operation, which would be south of U.S. 50.

Bradley said commissioners have a responsibility to protect the residents of the county and Brownstown, especially because the location is near a populated area.

He talked briefly about some of the concerns of those opposed to the request, including the potential for declining property values and the resulting loss in property taxes.

Dr. Wes Whitler of Lake & Forest Club also discussed concerns about the potential for air and water pollution generated by confined animal feeding operations.

"We are asking you to issue a statement, stating your opposition to the request," Bradley said.

He also asked commissioners to attend next Tuesday's meeting of the county Board of Zoning Appeals to express that opposition.

Bradley said those opposed to the request would like to see commissioners establish a committee to see what the county can do to regulate the placement of confined animal feeding operations in the future.

Hounshel said he did not want those opposed to think he was turning a deaf ear to their concerns, but he did not think it would be fair to the board of zoning appeals if commissioners took a stance. "I think we would be regulating a board that contains three members appointed by commissioners," Hounshel said.

He agrees with the suggestion of establishing a committee to look at additional regulations regarding confined animal feeding operations.

Commissioner John Schafstall said he understands both sides of the issue but has questions about where confined feeding animal operations should be placed.

"We have to eat," he said. "They have to be somewhere. Maybe this is a bad location. As commissioners, we represent everybody."

Commissioner Matt Reedy said he helped worked on a comprehensive plan for the county several years, and he thinks that plan needs to be fine-tuned to take a closer look at large livestock operations.

Hounshel said he understands the issue is controversial and needs to be addressed.

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