Forum Posts

joannlkalenak
Aug 20, 2020
In Questions for the County
During today's work session, the Planning Commission has just learned while they're hashing out the new land-use code and zoning plan with county commissioners, that county administration has no plans to replace the outgoing planning director, at least not in the near future. Robbie LeValley, in her typical obfuscation style, told the PC that she wants to fill the open Delta One economic development position before hiring a new planning director. OK, maybe you could argue some relationship between the two positions but one seems far more immediate than the other. Implementing new land-use codes and zoning in Delta County will be a herculean task but without a highly skilled and competent planning director, this task is near impossible. And all of it during a pandemic when many residents are unable to participate in the process. So, why the rush? Many residents have voiced extreme concerns about the land-use and zoning plans while commissioners are engaged in a shotgun-series of meetings to hash things out. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that there are so many reasons to slow down this process.
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joannlkalenak
Aug 20, 2020
In Questions for the County
Although members of the CAFO Working Group agreed on how to categorize Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) by specific "animal units," the proposed land-use plan broadened their definitions greatly, opening the door to much larger animal counts then recommended. In a plan that confused even Planning Commissioners at yesterday's land-use plan work session, animal units would be defined like this: Cattle, Beef = 1 animal unit Cattle, Dairy = 1.4 animal unit Chicken = .02 animal unit Elk = .5 animal unit Geese, Ducks, Turkeys = .03 animal unit Goat = .2 animal unit Horse = 1 animal unit Sheep = .2 animal unit Swine = .4 animal unit Bison = 1 animal unit CAFO Working Group members recommended that a minor AFO contain fewer than 50 animal units. The county, however, is planning for 50-to-149 animal units. Translation: A 373-animal pig farm could go on five acres (A5 zone) with limited review and administrative approval. Anything but minor.
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joannlkalenak
Jul 29, 2020
In Questions for the County
• Draft proposes a reinterpretation of the Right-to-Farm statute to disallow a landowner from bringing a nuisance lawsuit against a neighbor in the agriculture land use category regardless of when they are established. This is an affront to every rural resident who currently does not have impactful ag at their doorstep, but could given the proposed zoning mapping and proposed set backs. You are sacrificing the rights of a very large portion of the community for the rights of a few. Moreover, your interpretation of the Right-to-Farm Act can highly challengeable in court opening taxpayers to footing the bill. • CAFO set backs are proposed at a minimum and not as recommended by a majority of CAFO working group members. As a member of the CAFO working group mentioned at a recent virtual meeting discussing these proposed regulations, county officials openly misrepresented the group's findings saying that their comments where individually solicited and the resulting set backs where "the middle ground." This is not true. The county is proposing an extreme minimum. Set back from schools, for example, is proposed at 2,000+ feet, while a set back from a child's home can be as small as 150 feet. • Labeled low impact uses including slaughterhouses, sawmills, meat processing, explosives, and rock crushing could be upgraded to high impact and, hence, require full public review if the operation is deemed large. This is a scary approach that depends on non-specific circumstances and the interpretation of administration WITHOUT public review. • Most proposed planning tracks remove public input. This entire plan does little more than remove the public from input. It seems that streamlining the process will come at the sacrifice of transparency and fairness. • No follow-up or real oversight of uses "allowed by right" even though they come with specifications. The county is proposing many activities as "allowed by right" and yet there is no REAL way for the county to track and mentor activities. Further, there is no true recourse action given the free-for-all that is sure to result from such a policy.
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