(BROWNSTOWN) - A Brownstown official asked county commissioners to consider imposing a moratorium on confined animal feeding operations Tuesday morning.
"Is there any way we can get a moratorium on these (farms)?" John Nolting asked during the commissioners' meeting at the courthouse annex.
Aubrey Woods, of the Tribune reports, Nolting, president of Brownstown Town Council, said there are now eight confined animal feeding operations in the county with the potential for nine if Grant VonDielingen receives approval for a 4,000-head swine operation from the county Board of Zoning Appeals during its Sept. 11 meeting.
The board was originally scheduled to consider VonDielingen's request during its Aug. 14 meeting. That request for a special exception was continued because the board had just four members, instead of five, and the county attorney was absent.
VonDielingen's operation would be about a mile east of town, south of
The town council as well as Brownstown Chamber of Commerce have taken stands against the proposed location of that operation.
Commissioners rejected a request from opponents of the VonDielingen proposal to take a similar stand during their meeting Aug. 7.
At the time, commissioners president Jerry Hounshel said he didn't think commissioners should interfere with the work of the zoning board since com¬missioners appoint three members to that board.
The town does not have zoning, but Nolting said it should have been put in place years ago.
"We're looking at it right now," Nolting said.
He said the town's assessed value is presently $72 million.
"If it ( VonDielingen's operation) hurts us by 1 percent, that's probably one member of our police department or a member and a half of our department gone," Nolting said.
"The town of Brownstown cannot take any more hits," Nolting said.
Nolting said the town, the council and people in the surrounding community are concerned about VonDielingen's request.
They fear it could hurt property values and therefore tax collections. They have also expressed public health concerns.
Hounshel asked county attorney Susan Bevers if there was the potential for legal is¬sues if commissioners imposed a moratorium at this time.
Bevers said commissioners needed to consider that since VonDielingen's request is pending with the county Board of Zoning Appeals.
Bevers said she would gather some information about moratoriums and forward it to commissioners this week so they would have the chance to read and consider it. Hounshel said the request gave him something to think about.
After the meeting, Bevers said she also plans to discuss the issue with attorney John Rothring, who represents the county Board of Zoning Appeals.
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