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Board Denies CAFO Based on Neighbor Proximity

By Joseph Schany - | May 4, 2021

by Joseph Schany

The Palo Alto County Supervisors would deny the conditional use permit for a hog confinement near Greattinger during Tuesday’s regular session board meeting. The permit for a proposed 2,499 hog capacity finishing barn was denied because the site did not meet Palo Alto County’s Good Neighbor policy of a half-mile distance from residents.

“The site does have one neighbor within the half-mile, and currently the Good Neighbor policy waiver has not been signed,” said Aletha King, Zoning, presenting details of Monday night’s zoning board decision to the supervisors. “The zoning board denied the permit because of the distance with the neighbor and the waiver not being signed.”

Along with the supervisors, landowners from the area gathered to discuss concerns regarding the proposed CAFO, noting health issues, odor, and increased traffic key to the group’s objections.

“I am concerned about my health and the pollutants that come out of those fans,” said one longtime resident located within around 2,000 feet of the proposed site. “I don’t think it should be allowed.”

“That is why we have these meetings,” said Linus Solberg, Board Chair, “and that is why we have the Good Neighbor policy.”

“I have no problem with farmers wanting to raise livestock,” continued the landowner. “We had a dairy farm and raised cattle. I have a nice acreage and love it out there. I know my quality of life is going to be different if it’s built because I won’t be able to be outside and I like to be outdoors. With those odors and those pollutants, it just won’t be safe for me.”

A second landowner offered, “My concerns are the increased truck traffic that will be going by and how many times a year will they be cleaning those manure pits out. Where are they going to spread the manure?”

An area resident within close distance who recently moved from Colorado added, “I bought this house five weeks ago to be in the country and for the fresh air. The scent of those hogs will not stop at a half a mile. That stuff carries a long way.”

“The DNR, the Iowa legislature, and the Farm Bureau wrote this up and passed it at a quarter-mile,” said Solberg. “That is why we have a Good Neighbor policy and that’s why we are trying to work something out with our neighbors. Within the last four years nobody has broken it. We have corporations that come in and try to put them where they want to, and we just have enough peer pressure and letters to the editor that they respect our half a mile now.”

Supervisor Roger Faulstick said, “I agree with what everybody is saying and I wish those who are building would consider these residents’ feelings. I don’t think it’s right, and if you put yourselves in their position I don’t think you’d be fond of it either.”

Added Faulstick, “I wish you would consider the human factor about it.”

Following the discussion, the board moved to deny the conditional use permit based on Zoning’s previous denial due to the site’s proximity.

“We just have to do what we think is best and we follow our zoning board,” said Supervisor Ron Graettinger.