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Cherry County Planning Commission recommends OK of Cherry County hog facility

Cherry County Planning Commission recommends OK of Cherry County hog facility

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Jan. 13, 2021: Updated with date of public hearing.

The Cherry County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a conditional use permit for Phase l of a proposed hog confinement facility near Valentine.

The facility would be built and operated by Danielski Farms, one-half mile east of German Settlement Road, about three miles south of U.S. Highway 20. The planning commission vote on Tuesday was 5-3.

The permit is now in the hands of the three members of the Cherry County Board of Commissioners.

A public hearing on the conditional use permit will be Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. in the courtroom of the Cherry County Courthouse in Valentine. The county board set the hearing time Tuesday. No other discussion or action was taken on the CUP. 

A permit is required because the facility would exceed the county’s limit of 2,000 animal units per square mile. The commission’s recommendation included a number of stipulations to ensure that the facility would not negatively impact other county residents or the groundwater. Planning commission members who voted to recommend issuance of the permit were Chelsea Luthy, Duane Kime, John Lee, Albert Ericksen and Gary Swanson. Voting no were Wade Andrews, Michael McLeod and Dave Rogers.

The commission’s recommendations stipulate that the Danielskis must show that the large number of animals will not result in exposure of other properties to “unreasonable levels of odor for unreasonable duration periods.”

The permit would allow construction of shared facilities and earthwork for both phases of the operation, but implementation of Phase 2 would require a second permit.

Monitoring wells would need to be constructed at the Danielskis’ expense, at locations identified by Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District and U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service during the construction phase. Water from monitoring wells would be tested for nitrates and phosphorus prior to facility operation to establish a baseline, then annually, by the NRD or another licensed entity, at Danielskis’ expense.

The Danielskis would work with county commissioners to develop a maintenance plan for adjacent roads.

A year-round deep pit manure storage capacity must continue to be maintained if and when Phase 2 becomes operational.

Field manure application must be done only by subsurface injection when the ground is not frozen, immediately before planting a crop, which can be a cover crop.

Site inspections will be conducted as needed by the county zoning administrator or an appointee. The current zoning administrator is Jessica Coyle.

Removal of snow from public roads will remain on schedule with no special considerations for site work or animal handling.

Prior to construction, Danielskis must provide a contingency plan for decommissioning the manure storage pit. The plan would include disposal of remaining waste, and a funding mechanism to ensure that the cost would not be borne by county taxpayers.

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