Board of adjustment approves class "C" CAFO

At the August 1 meeting of the Moody County commissioners, the board of adjustment approved Mike Schmidt’s application for a concentrated animal feeding operation in rural Colman.

The CAFO will house 2,400 head of swine, or 720 animal units, and be built by a company out of Iowa.

Schmidt applied for the operation on June 7, with notice of public hearing published June 21 and mail sent to all adjoining landowners within one mile of the proposed site, located three miles south and one mile east of the Colman exit.

The application was discussed first at the commission meeting on July 6, where adjoining landowners, including Charles and Lora Zwart, and other interested parties attended a public hearing to ask questions and voice their concerns over the proposed operation.

Main concerns centered around the odor and where the manure would be applied or trucked as well as the facility being built by an out-of-state company.

The design of the building, measuring about 51 feet long and 100 feet wide, is meant to facilitate natural ventilation, Schmidt said.

Though there will be pit fans, he said the design does not benefit from biofilters, which some operations in the county have used, though they aren’t scientifically proven to work.

After discussion during the July 6 hearing, the board postponed a vote and requested Schmidt get an odor footprint showing the spread of odor with and without use of a biofilter.

When the board met again on August 1, they reviewed the odor footprint Schmidt obtained, his letter of assurance and planned to discuss further amongst themselves, though they still allowed for a few public comments upon request.

Lauren Greenhoff told the board he recently purchased land to build a house a little over three quarters of a mile away from the proposed site location.

Because of the timing, he did not receive the letter sent to adjoining landowners and came to the meeting the find out how the operation would affect him.

Commission chair Jerry Doyle read attendees a line from the Moody County zoning ordinance, which states “residential development other than a single-family farming dwelling unit will be discouraged to minimize conflict with farming activities …”

“In essence, we’re supposed to promote agriculture and not residential development,” Doyle said.

Lora Zwart read the board a letter she had prepared to document her disapproval of the proposed building.

“From the discussion, it appears [Schmidt] is not willing to make any changes to the design to prevent odor or sell any manure to adjacent landowners,” Zwart read. “We do not support the hog confinement because it is not locally owned or operated. The building and operations will be profitable for an out-of-state company.”

The odor footprint of the CAFO showed an annoyance-free frequency of 97 percent without a biofilter, which means the odor should not be experienced more than 22 hours a month.

The board continued their discussion reviewing the tentative letter of assurance for the CAFO, which included that biofilters and a pit additive are encouraged to reduce odor as needed, but not required, and road haul agreements with both Egan Township and Moody County.

The Nutrient Management Plan for the operation also must be approved by the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources before the permit is issued.

Commissioner Rick Veldkamp moved to approve the class “C” CAFO application with the letter of assurance with a second vote to approve from Commissioner Tom Ehrichs.

Once the letter of assurance and road haul agreements are signed, the county office of planning and zoning will issue a permit that allows six months within which to begin building.

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