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Supervisors Deny CAFO Application Amid Debate

By Joseph Schany - | Mar 25, 2021

by Joseph Schany

The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted to deny a pair of conditional use permits for the construction of two 2,499 head hog confinements in Lost Island Township. The denial came amid concern over the proposed facilities’ proximity to neighbors and other businesses in the area.

“This does not meet the zoning ordinance of a quarter mile, or 1,320 feet, or the Good Neighbor policy of a half mile, or 2,640 feet, from the neighbors,” noted Aletha King, Palo Alto County Zoning, updating the supervisors on the zoning board’s own decision made Monday night. “Zoning denied it because of the policy and the distance,” she said.

Each permit called for the construction of a 165 ft x 122 ft swine finishing barn with below-ground manure storage and an animal unit capacity of 999.6 units, or 2,499 head. While the proposed buildings are not large enough to fall into the DNR’s Master Matrix evaluation regulations, the inability to meet the Palo Alto County Good Neighbor policy was of key concern to the supervisors.

“It was really hard for us to get a Good Neighbor policy of a half-mile in our county,” said Board Chair Linus Solberg. “I was on the board many years ago. Going on three years now we haven’t had anybody – corporations or anybody – thumb their noses at us and they’ve all abided by our policy. We would sure hate to have to lose that because there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears over this.”

A number of residents were also on hand to voice their objections to the proposed concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as well as highlight continued concern over the number of facilities finding their way into Palo Alto County.

“Our growing coalition of residents within Lost Island Township in Palo Alto County stand opposed to a recent plan for the construction of a [new facility],” various county residents said in a statement. “Our coalition maintains that the proposed facility[s] presents serious health risks to members of the surrounding community of Palo Alto County that are not mitigated by current Iowa livestock law.”

According to the statement, “Palo Alto county is already burdened by 245 existing swine operations with eight of those residing in our little township. We firmly resolve that it is time to draw a line in the dirt and organize to protect our air, our water, their properties and the future of their children and grandchildren.”

Read the full article in The Democrat.