With one state agency’s OK in hand, a Freetown man and his son can take the next step toward building an 8,000-head confined animal feeding operation.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources recently approved the proposal, but James Lucas and his son, Matthew, still need county and additional state approval to press ahead.
In January, the Jackson County Board of Zoning
Appeals voted 4-1 to table the request from the two family members.
At that time, the two were told they needed approval from DNR because the proposed operation in Browns-
town Township would be built in a floodplain. The 159.37 acres at 1502 W. County Road 300N is zoned agricultural floodplain.
On Oct. 31, they received approval from DNR for
the early-wean-to-finish hog operation in two 4,000-head barns. That permit is valid for 24 months and lists special conditions on how the Lucases must deal with vegetation, erosion and debris and control erosion in the floodway.
The request for the special exception now will go back to the zoning board for a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the courthouse
Mike Weir, county building commissioner, said James Lucas will be able to present his certificate of approval from DNR for the operation.
Others wishing to speak in favor of or against the proposal with new evidence that hasn’t already been presented also can speak during the meeting in front of the five-member panel, Weir said.
James Lucas, contacted Monday by The Tribune, said he had no comment about the application, which was filed Nov. 18, 2013.
Lucas will need approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management if the county board of zoning appeals approves the request for a special exception.
Lucas and his brother, Jeff Lucas, currently operate a concentrated animal feeding operation nearby through an agreement with Jackson-
The co-op provides the feed and hogs for seven of the county’s eight confined hog-feeding operations, and the farmers provide the labor and maintain ownership of the barns.
If approved, James and his son would operate with a similar agreement.
IDEM, which regulates building setbacks, manure handling, design and construction and stormwater runoff for large-scale livestock barns, will have 90 days to review and approve or deny a permit once it’s submitted.
Currently, Leah and Kyle Broshears of Seymour are awaiting approval from the department to build a feeding operation northwest of county roads 1050E and 200S between Dudleytown and Uniontown.
The zoning board approved their request to build the operation after a six-hour public hearing in October.
A group of homeowners living near the proposed
operation recently filed a lawsuit asking a judge to annul the decision.
A new ordinance regulating confined animal feeding operations enacted in Jackson County last month will not impact the Lucases’ request. That ordinance was enacted Nov. 18 by the Jackson County Commissioners.
In a 2-1 vote, they updated a 1968 ordinance to provide stricter rules about applying for feeding operations. The ordinance will be used to regulate size, placement and odor control of such operations.
The Lucases’ request to build the two CAFOs came before the ordinance took effect, meaning the old rules still apply, Weir said.