Planning Commission considers first round of proposed changes

No final proposals for changes in Boone County zoning regulations emerged from a public meeting and discussion last Tuesday night, but debate continued on both the proposed rules and on livestock feeding operations in general.

This meeting had the largest attendance so far, with more than 70 people present.

Planning consultant Keith Marvin of JEO Consulting Group was asked to make changes in the proposals for the commission’s next meeting in May.

Possible Changes Presented

Marvin presented proposals for possible changes in several regulations, providing explanations on several points.

One change states that conditional use permits for livestock feeding operations would be contingent upon approval of a Livestock Waste Control Permit by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

It was noted that this is the current practice, but is not spelled out in the defining language.

Another proposed change involved language in a section dealing with setback or separation distances for various sizes of livestock facilities called Environmentally Controlled Housing Operations (ECH). The language change would specify that the setback distances also apply to other types of facilities, such as open lots, and only in the Valentine sand area.

A proposed addition to the manual could eliminate “overlap” of setback distances between various sizes of livestock operations, specifying that separation distance of the larger facility would determine the distance between facilities and that the “waiver process” could not be used to reduce the required distance. Planning Commission members said this rule was being considered for the Valentine sand soils area in the northwest part of the county, and not for the county as a whole.

Another possible addition was a requirement that conditional use permit applicants fully disclose all parties involved in any financial or operational portion of a proposed expansion or new operation requesting a conditional use permit.

Planning Commission Chairman Paul Groeteke and other commission members expressed concerns about two other possible additions to the regulations, which were deleted.

One of the proposed rules for any new livestock feeding operations would eliminate the use of irrigation systems to apply manure and require the injection method for manure application.

The other proposed change, also for new operations, would require a conditional use permit for any piping used to transport livestock waste from the LFO to property not owned by the LFO.

Commission member Mark Jensen pointed out that pivot application is the fastest way to apply livestock waste from lagoons in order to control their level and prevent overflows. Therefore, he said the restriction on irrigation system would not be practical for open lot operations.

Marvin pointed out that the proposed rule changes were only a starting point, and that the board could delete or change any regulations.

“I wanted to err on the restrictive side and let you change or delete as you feel necessary,” Marvin said.

Other topics discussed with Marvin were the use of odor footprints in determining setback distances, options for deep pit manure storage and synthetic lined lagoons in the Valentine sand area, pressure testing of waste pipelines and third party mediation.
Complete story in Albion News Print Edition.