HURON — Neighbors of Riverside Colony north of Huron have filed a second appeal after decisions were made by the Beadle County Commission to grant a conditional use permit for the colony to build a holding pond and a turkey manure storage pad.
The holding pond is not part of the current action because that appeal was dismissed earlier by the court. The current appeal deals only with the turkey manure pad.
Russell and Pam Layton and Darrell and Kathy Hofer maintain that the way they read the appropriate ordinances pertaining to agricultural districts that the colony must obtain a permit for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation based on the size of the animal feeding operation.
The Laytons said the appeal was based on a document submitted to the Beadle County zoning administrator from Dakota Environmental, the colony’s engineering firm, that was dated 2008, as well as the minutes of a Beadle County Planning and Zoning meeting on whether more information was required for an expansion of animal numbers.
The Laytons said documents from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources include a certificate issued in 1998 stating the number of turkeys and hogs as reported by Dakota Environmental. Another certificate was issued in 2008 stating the increase of animal numbers, they said.
There are two permitting processes in Beadle County ordinances for the ag district – conditional use or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
In October 2009, the commission approved Riverside Colony’s request for a conditional use permit to build the holding pond so it could use new technology to eliminate livestock manure odors. The swine manure holding pond was approved so liquefied manure could be supplied to irrigation pivot systems.
After that initial approval, neighbors appealed the commission decision to circuit court. But Judge Vince Foley remanded the issue back to the board to make a determination if the construction resulted in an increase in animal units. Again, the holding pond is not part of the current appeal.
Foley said, in part, “Moreover, the commission opinion reflects no finding of actual inventory. Moreover, no evidence exists where the county determined there was no increase in population thus obviating consideration of the issue of expansion.
“Barring that, the commission decision is arbitrary as no factual basis for the appropriate numbers of animal units is found.” This opinion was rendered in the turkey pad appeal only.
This fall, the board found no increase in units and again approved the conditional use permit at a rehearing.
Current ordinances dealing with manure storage pads were adopted in January 2012. But the colony’s permit was based on 1998 ordinances.
The second issue deals with the permit issued in 2009 for the holding pond.
The colony maintains that the pond was actually moved farther away from the Layton residence than initially proposed, and it was built smaller.
The initial proposal placed the earthen manure storage basin about 2,800 feet from the Layton residence. A conditional use permit has a one-mile minimum separation distance.
The Laytons say the colony has expanded its animal units, but the colony denies that.
The Laytons want the county to follow the proper permitting process. A CAFO permit determines separation distances based on animal units.
“Structures have been built by our home that no one would volunteer for, and the further away from these structures that we can be, the better,” the Laytons wrote in an summary of their objections.
“All we have ever asked for is that the permitting process be followed,” they wrote.
“If we are correct and a CAFO permit is required, the county commission must determine the separation distance based on animal units,” they said.
They said their appeal is based on one structure, although many structures are involved, including a new turkey barn in 2008, a confinement feeding operation north of the colony and the swine earthen manure storage basin.
The Laytons say they are not against agriculture operations and have lived in the county for 19 years. They raise goats and have their own manure issues. The meat goats are raised primarily for sale to members of 4-H clubs. They also say they have nothing against their neighbors at Riverside Colony.
They agree that there are odors to live with in the country, but that mistakes were made in this case and should be rectified.
For example, they maintain that the county has not considered, as required by 1998 ordinances, violations to the State General Water Permit as administered by DENR. Any violation requires those in violation to permit or re-permit under the Beadle County CAFO process. The Laytons said documentation from DENR indicates multiple violations occurred since 1998.
Beadle County State’s Attorney Mike Moore said at the recent rehearing that the initial permit was granted based on the alternative location for the pond that came up during the first hearing.
Russ Layton said commission meeting minutes don’t reflect an alternate location being considered.
But he said it is a separate issue and is not part of the second appeal, which deals with the turkey manure storage pad.
He also said the proposal was to build a two-cell pond, with four million gallons on each side and a berm running down the middle. He maintains the permit was approved based on that plan.
Moore said the plan was changed to a one-cell, smaller pond so it could be moved about a mile away from the Layton home.
“Beadle County is doing the best it can in hearing the concerns of all the parties involved and rendering a fair decision under the law,” Moore said.
“The permits Riverside has asked for and received were based on state and federal mandates and greatly improve the environmental impact of their farming operation,” he said.
“Riverside has asked for the conditional use permits not to expand their operation, but to better handle animal waste and comply with federal, state and county requirements,” Moore said.
For the complete article see the 11-28-2012 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-28-2012 paper.
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