An appeal claiming the Gage County Board of Supervisors violated its regulations by approving a permit for a poultry farm in September has been dismissed in District Court.
The appeal, filed by David Atkins, alleged that the county didn’t have enough votes when it declared the permit approved last year.
The board voted 4-3 on Sept. 14 to approve Roy Mulder’s special use permit for a poultry farm in the Cortland area.
The six-barn poultry facility would house up to 150,000 birds on South 38th Road, 3/4 of a mile south of Apple Road, roughly two miles east of Cortland.
Atkins and other area property owners who were against the permit being issued claimed that the county needed a “supermajority” vote to approve the permit, consisting of at least five votes in favor.
The county’s zoning ordinance states that if a protest against a permit is signed by 20 percent or more of the owners in the area, a permit would need a supermajority to be granted.
The site is located within one mile of 20 landowners.
The petition was signed by around 220 citizens, most of whom live in the area of the poultry farm site.
The petition was presented to the County Board, though County Attorney Roger Harris said the petition needed to be submitted in advance to verify the signatures.
The court said there is no requirement to submit a petition in advance, but said that the petition submitted did not meet the requirement of having signatures from 20 percent of adjacent landowners and, therefore, did not require a supermajority vote to pass.
Court documents listed four owners of adjacent property owners, and said none of them had signed the petition.
Regarding the question of submitting a petition of the permit, the court finding stated that it was unnecessary for the protesters to file the petition with the county clerk before the final decision, and that it’s “also obvious” that the protesters didn’t need to advise the county of the petition.
The County Board initially rejected the permit in July, 2016, citing unknowns in the plan, primarily with how manure and bird carcasses would be handled. An updated plan included a 30-by-60 feet slab for manure storage with retaining walls was submitted before the permit was eventually approved.
The chickens, raised for meat production, will arrive at the farm at two-days-old and will be raised for MBA Poultry. The proposed location is relatively close to Tecumseh, where the company’s processing plant is.
The barns under the proposal have an assessed value of $1.9 million and required one full-time and one part-time worker to operate.