A Delaware County man will no longer be allowed to open a farm with more than 10,000 hogs. Late last week, the county rejected Rhett Light’s permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation or CAFO. It was approved by the county in May.
The county’s zoning board of appeals had heard a lot of opposition to the farm from residents.
Hoosier Environmental Council senior staff attorney Kim Ferraro represents the opposition. She says Delaware County doesn’t have an ordinance specific to concentrated animal feeding operations — what they do have is an old farm zoning law from the 1970s.
“The drafters of the ordinance couldn’t have possibly imagined that they would be creating a farming zone that would allow this sort of industry to exist,” says Ferraro.
Therefore, Ferarro says, issuing a building permit for the farm is illegal. She says the county also had a moratorium on factory farms, but lifted it when the owner of the proposed farm, Rhett Light, said he would sue.
“Making a zoning decision simply because someone has threatened you with litigation is not a reason to allow a harmful development like this to go forward,” says Ferraro.
According to the Star Press, Light’s attorney may take the issue to court.
This story has been updated.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.