Some Delaware County residents are trying to stop a factory farm with more than 10,000 hogs from opening in their community. They’re appealing the county’s decision to approve the hog farm’s permit in May. Delaware County will hold a public meeting on the issue Thursday June 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Hoosier Environmental Council senior staff attorney Kim Ferraro represents the opposition. She says Delaware County doesn’t have an ordinance specific to concentrated animal feeding operations — what they do have is an old farm zoning law from the 1970s.
“The drafters of the ordinance couldn’t have possibly imagined that they would be creating a farming zone that would allow this sort of industry to exist,” says Ferraro.
Therefore, Ferarro says, issuing a building permit for the farm is illegal. She says the county also had a moratorium on factory farms, but lifted it when the owner of the proposed farm, Rhett Light, said he would sue.
“Making a zoning decision simply because someone has threatened you with litigation is not a reason to allow a harmful development like this to go forward,” says Ferraro.
The county imposed multiple moratoriums on factory farm permits. Whether those happened before or after Light’s permit was approved could influence either side’s case.
Todd Janzen, the attorney representing the proposed farm owner, argues the appeal has no merit.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.