The Grant County Area Plan Commission approved a findings of fact report on Monday that defended their decision to stop a confined feeding operation, also known as a CAFO, from being built in northern Grant County.

The report was required by Judge Warren Haas who ruled last month that the plan commission's previous findings of fact were insufficient to support its zoning decision against Nolan Holloway, the local farmer who is trying to build the 9,240-hog farm. The findings of fact were approved by a 10-0 vote.

"This is a public meeting, it is not a public hearing," said Bruce Elliott, the plan commission's attorney. "This commission has already voted and determined previously to deny Mr. Holloway's CAFO application."

The updated report outlines multiple reasons why the commission believes the CAFO should not be built in Grant County.

According to Grant County zoning ordinances, the proposed use of the CAFO must not be injurious to public health, safety or general welfare. But according to the plan commission, the zoning ordinance required Holloway to complete a subsurface geological study on the farm's property. Holloway did not provide a geological study with his initial zoning application, the commission said.

At an Oct. 1 public hearing, Geologist Anthony Fleming provided a written report and testimony that stated the CAFO site had problematic draining and that its location "posed a threat to the MIssissinewa reservoir," the findings said.

The commission also states that Holloway did not submit any information with his original application about how the proposed farm would affect surrounding property values — another requirement of the zoning ordinance.

According to Mark Bovee, a member of the Appraisal Institute, the CAFO would produce 1.92 million gallons of animal waste per year. The commission's report said that the proposed CAFO is unique due to its close proximity to residential and urban areas and that its presence would have a "detrimental impact on the surrounding residential property values."

In addition to the site's geological profile and effect on property values, the commission states there are approximately 500-600 water wells within a three mile vicinity of the proposed farm, which "could cause a risk of peril to life or property for the surrounding property owners..."

In the original findings of fact report, the commission simply circled whether or not they believed the plan met zoning ordinance requirements. Haas said this was not good enough and gave the commission a May 27 deadline to file more detailed findings.

The next regular meeting of the plan commission will take place June 3 at 7 p.m. inside the Grant County Complex.

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