Planning And Zoning Commission Approves Hog Permit Near Harbine

FAIRBURY – The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Committee approved a controversial special use permit for a hog operation during its meeting Tuesday night.

The operation proposed by Plymouth Ag Group would be located a little more than two miles southwest of Harbine. The permit application would allow for up to 4,800 hogs, though Plymouth representatives say at this time they only intend to house 2,400.

Several residents of the surrounding area, including Jim Hull, raised a number of concerns about the location of the operation.

:26     “…is this watershed.”

The watershed in question is Big Indian Creek Reservoir 10-A. Residents were concerned about potential contamination due to runoff from manure as well as the potential for flooding that could reach the holding tanks. According to the application the tops of the two holding tanks would be four and six feet higher than the top of the dam respectively. Studies by the Lower Blue Natural Resources District said there is a one in one thousand chance of flood waters spilling more than a foot over the dam.

Another resident, Rick Siebert, raised a number of issues including odor, potential water contamination and revenues to the county if a number of residents request to have their property taxes lowered.

During an exchange with Siebert, members of the committee including chairman Randy Welch emphasized that Planning and Zoning’s role in the process is simply to determine whether the permit application meets the regulations established by the county.

:43     “…we go by.”

Representatives of Plymouth Ag Group attended the hearing, but chose not to comment. After 90 minutes of public input the board voted on the permit.

:15     “…are in favor.”

The issue will now go before the Jefferson County Commissioners at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4.