Judge clears way for CAFO project near Dudleytown

The Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals did not err when it cleared the way for the county’s 14th confined animal feeding operation in November 2014.

Jackson Circuit Senior Judge Daniel E. Moore recently released his decision in a lawsuit filed in November of that year against the BZA and Kyle and Leah Broshears.

The lawsuit was filed by residents living near the site where the Broshearses had proposed to build an 81-by-417-foot building to house about 4,000 swine. That 10-acre site, owned by Leah Broshears’ parents, Max and Brenda Klosterman, is located on land zoned agriculture near county roads 1050E and 200S near Dudleytown.

The plaintiffs, who include Gary R. and Karen McDonald, Pat Kniola, Steve and Charlotte Murphy, Billy and Trina McLain, Harold and Melba Hoevener, Hubert Brumett, Eddie Brumett and Brenda Brumett, appealed the BZA’s 5-0 decision Nov. 14, 2014.

They contended the BZA’s decision should have been overturned because there was not enough room at the hearing to accommodate everyone wishing to attend; that everyone who wanted to speak was not allowed to do so; that board members did not read all of the written material presented to them before making a decision; that board members whispered, possibly passed notes to each other and used their phones; that board members Sherry Bridges and Ralph Collins had conflicts of interest and should have not voted on the Broshearses’ request; and that Bridges was biased because she had visited a CAFO prior to the hearing.

Moore said the issues raised by the plaintiffs should have been raised during the hearing, and because they were not, they waived the issue on appeal.

In his conclusion of the law, Moore said while Bridges lived near the Broshearses’ proposed CAFO and was related to the Brumetts, that did not a consist of a conflict of interest because she had no financial interest in the project. He dismissed the conflict of interest question about Collins for the same reason.

Moore further wrote that there is no law requiring BZA members to review all written material delivered to them during a meeting and that the BZA has a rule requiring submission of written materials well in advance of the hearing.

Gary McDonald said a decision hasn’t been made about appealing Moore’s ruling, and he and the others involved will talk about it.

“We don’t agree with it but respect Judge Moore’s decision,” McDonald said.

He said the plaintiffs are not opposed to agriculture in general but just this operation because it is close to 94-year-old Hubert Brumett, who will have to move because of health issues if the Broshearses moved ahead with their plans.

Kyle Broshears said the decision has been a long, time-consuming battle, but one that is worth fighting.

Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.