A Seymour family hopes they will soon be one step closer to finding out if a judge will OK their proposed confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) near Dudleytown.
Kyle and Leah Broshears have an evidentiary hearing set for 8:30 a.m. July 16 in Jackson Circuit Court. That hearing stems from a lawsuit filed by those opposed to the couple’s plans to build a 10-acre, 4,000-head feeder-to-finish hog farm.
The lawsuit was filed after the county board of zoning appeals approved a special exception to allow the operation after a 6-hour meeting that began Oct. 14 and ended early Oct. 15.
Until the judicial review process is complete, the family, who wants to build near county roads 1050E and 200S between Dudleytown and Uniontown, cannot obtain a permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to start construction.
“Even after this part, I fully expect an appeal from one of them, so we will be fortunate if this is all wrapped up by 2016,” Kyle Broshears recently said of those opposed to the project. The July hearing allows each side to present evidence.
In November, a group of homeowners who live near the proposed operation filed the lawsuit against the family and the Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals for its 4-0 decision to approve the special exception.
That legal action came after the zoning board decided the Broshearses could build the proposed operation if they met the county requirements in place at that time — setbacks of 300 feet and at least three acres. It also had to be in an area zoned for agricultural use.
A new county ordinance has since been enacted and requires a 500-foot setback for a feeding operation to an existing residence.
In the lawsuit, the opposition contends the board’s decision was “illegal, was not supported by substantial evidence and was not warranted by facts; and was unauthorized and contrary to the purposes and provisions of the zoning ordinance and Indiana law,” according to court documents.
It also says the operation will reduce property values and owner equity, increase odors and expose homeowners in the area to health problems from water or air contamination.
Those opposed to the project also said the Oct. 14 meeting was conducted in Jackson Circuit Court, which wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to speak, and the three-minute period for each person to talk before the board wasn’t enough time.
The lawsuit contends 44 people in opposition did not get to speak that night because of illness or lateness of the hour.
Board members also made comments or stated opinions that may have affected the final outcome, according to court documents.
For the future operation, the Broshears family, who do not plan to live on the grounds of their operation, plan to contract with Jackson Jennings Co-op and will construct an 81-by-417-foot building to house the operation. The co-op will provide the hogs and feed and the Broshears will raise the hogs.
Manure will be stored in a concrete pit that holds about 1 million gallons. It then will be injected into their fields. The entrance to the proposed operation along County Road 1050E will see an average of three to four trucks per week.
The couple said the feed for the swine will contain an odor-reducing additive, but they will not be using biofilters, designed to lessen odors.
The building will be located at the farthest point possible to maximize setback distances from the closest residence.
Land on two sides of the building is enrolled in a government-protected woodlands program and can never be developed for residential use, and the property is surrounded by deciduous and evergreen trees.
A three-month moratorium banning anyone from building a CAFO in Jackson County is expected to expire Monday. Jackson County Commissioners are set to meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the courthouse annex in Brownstown.
In March, Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to extend the ban, first enacted in November. Commissioner Tom Joray voted against the ban, as he has in the past.
Commissioner Matt Reedy said the reason he voted in favor of the extension was to wait and see what might happen at the state level.
Earlier this year, Senate Agricultural Committee members unanimously passed a proposal, which will allow Purdue University’s College of Agriculture to study the current laws and restrictions in all 92 counties and report the findings back to lawmakers by Nov. 1, The Associated Press reported.