More time needed for county zoning hearing by David Lias The Clay County Commission discovered Tuesday that the 30 minutes it had scheduled to discuss the proposed Clay County zoning amendment wasn�t enough time.
After meeting with the citizens for approximately 45 minutes, the commission decided to continue the hearing at its meeting next week.
Several citizens met with the commissioners to express their concerns about various aspects of the amendment.
Jerry Wilson of rural Wakonda served as a spokesman for the citizens. He distributed papers to the commission members with information that showed what he called weaknesses in the zoning regulations.
The wording of the regulations, he said, could allow significant livestock increases to certain units without their owners needing a permit.
Wilson noted that a livestock feeding operator is required to apply for a conditional use permit for a cumulative increase of 1,000 or more animal units at an un-permitted concentrated feeding operation.
Under these regulations, he noted, an existing concentrated animal feeding operation with say, 2,000 feeder hogs, could add 2,499 hogs without applying for a permit.
The citizens also told commissioners that the minimum setback and separation distances listed in the propose amendment were inappropriate.
David Wherry, county zoning officer, said those distance figures are based on information from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
�If we get really carried away with this thing, we�re going to make it impossible for anybody to go into the livestock business in Clay County,� Commission Chairman Jerry Sommervold said. �We don�t have enough livestock here now.�