MUNCIE — A judge has reinstated a building permit for a controversial hog farm in northern Delaware County.

Special Judge Mark E. Spitzer of Grant County Circuit Court ruled recently that Delaware County could have adopted regulations of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) but "neglected to do so."

"Delaware County may, by ordinance amendment, restrict confined feeding operations in some way in the future," the judge wrote. "It may not do so by changing its interpretation of the existing zoning ordinance."

Rhett and Alana Light filed a lawsuit after the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals, in a rare move, overturned the decision of the county building commissioner to issue a building permit for their CAFO — housing up to 10,560 piglets until they reach slaughter weight, raised in two groups per year.

"The BZA’s findings that the Lights’ operation is somehow distinguishable from other

agricultural uses because it is an 'industrial agricultural' use that will 'generate as much urine and feces as a small town' is not in any way supported by the language of the (zoning) ordinance (adopted in 1973)," the court ruled.
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