Story County has, this month, received applications for three hog confinements, and the better part of Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting was spent going over the process and procedures that are in place for dealing with these applications and also setting a public hearing time and date about the proposed confinements. Tuesday’s meeting also established formal “receipt” that the county has the applications, putting other mandated procedures and time lines into effect.
A public hearing on the confinements has been set for the board’s regular meeting time, 10 a.m., on Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the second-floor supervisors’ meeting room at the County Administration Building in Nevada.
All three confinements are proposed to be located in Richland Township, and each of the three will contain 5,000 hogs. The facilities are proposed to be located in Sections 10, 28 and 29 of Richland Township. Scott Henry, of Longview Pork, is the person who signed the application for all three facilities.
Story County Supervisor’s Chair Rick Sanders said that in 2015, the county instituted a process that incorporated more staff members into the “scoring” of each application and “let us have more eyes” on that scoring. The “scoring” is a system laid out in a master matrix by the state for a variety of categories that, in the end, answer the question: Is this a suitable site for one of these facilities?
Margaret Jaynes, director of environmental health, officially presented the applications to the board.
Official receipt of the applications now triggers the process whereby the matter will be looked into by environmental health, be published in the newspaper and have a public hearing. The county will also post signs at the proposed sites and get notice of the application to every landowner within a two-mile radius of each proposed location.
The city of Nevada is approximately two miles south of one of the proposed sites, and therefore, officials in the city of Nevada government will be notified, and they will have the responsibility of letting residents know about the proposed facility.
The DNR is scheduled to review the three sites on Nov. 26, and county department representatives involved in scoring are part of that review. On Nov. 27, those county employees will meet and finalize their score.
One important thing that Sanders wanted to point out during Tuesday’s discussion was that no matter what the county, as a board, votes to do — whether to support the facilities that are proposed or attempt to deny them — as long as those facilities meet the stipulations laid out by the State in its master matrix, the State DNR will have the final say and final approval.
Supervisor Lauris Olson said, “I personally can’t imagine a more thorough system than the one that has already been put in place (for the county). We have experts from several different departments looking over (everything).”