We’ll again ask that cool heads prevail when Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals conducts a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposed confined animal feeding operation near Brownstown.
We’ll also hope that the board has all members officially appointed and in attendance so that another delay is not needed as happened last month when the panel of five members was set to hear the request from Grant VonDielingen for a special exception. It would allow him to build a 4,000-head hog operation on family farmland about a mile east of Brownstown, south of U.S. 50. It’s also about a mile away from the Lake and Forest housing addition.
That this latest proposed confined animal feeding operation would stir public concerns should surprise no one. Its location all but ensured opposition, although from what we hear from Brownstown Town Council members, the proposal also has its supporters in the community.
We don’t envy members of Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals. They have many issues to consider on both sides of the request.
The board will conduct a public hearing on the proposal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will also hear a request to allow the expansion of a 2,000-head swine nursery to a capacity of 4,000. That request involves a farm operated by Paul and Melanie Pottschmidt west of Brownstown.
We’ll hope those attending the hearings will keep their heads, patiently listen to each other and voice their concerns.
Weighing the pros and cons will be enough of a chore without any unnecessary rancor and drama.
Regardless of its final decisions, the Board of Zoning Appeals already has made two wise choices in this matter — moving Tuesday’s hearing from the Jackson Circuit Courtroom at the courthouse to Brownstown Church of the Nazarene, 616 W. Commerce St., in Brownstown. That will accommodate more folks with an interest in attending the meeting, providing better, more transparent public access to our government at work. The crowd gathered for the Aug. 14 meeting at the courthouse packed the courtroom and spilled out into the upstairs lobby.
And two board members have removed themselves from considering VonDielingen’s application because of their affiliation with Jackson-Jennings Co-op, which partners with local farmers on hog operations and would with this farm as well, if approved.
So be patient. State your concerns. Listen to others. Then let board members do their job — weigh the requests, taking into consideration the facts presented and applicable law — and make decisions that best fits the county’s zoning law and overall interests.
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