(SALEM) - The Washington County Commissioners plan to hold a special meeting just to discuss the zoning ordinance that has been recommended by the county's plan commission.
Marsha Walker of the Leader Democrat reports that Commissioner Dave Brown wants to ask some questions.
Tom Scifres, attorney for the county, told the commissioners last week they could "accept, amend, send back, reject or schedule a public hearing" about the proposed ordinance but that if they didn't take some action within 90 days, it would become law as written. Scifres suggested designating a specific time for a discussion and the commissioners agreed, anticipating there will be much discussion about the controversial measure. The public meeting is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 11, in the government building on Martinsburg Road.
The ordinance puts into place regulations for confined feeding operations in the county. Regardless of the size of the operation, farmers would have to obtain an "improvement location permit," which requires submitting an application to the plan director and paying a $250 fee.
Some of the requirements include a 400-foot setback from an off-site residences or public use facility; a 3,960 foot setback from all schools and 200 foot setback from property lines. Also required is a cul-de-sac or T-shaped turn around so vehicles don't have to be backed into a road or street and a site plan is required. The plan must be drawn to scale and show specific distances between structures and features.
The plan commission acts as an advisory group to the commissioners. Although the plan commission has been working on the ordinance for well over a year, it does not have authority to enact it. Instead, they pass it on to the commissioners for action by that board.
Copies can be viewed at the auditor's office at the county courthouse, the Salem Public Library or online, www.washingtoncounty.in.gov.
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