UPDATE: Commissioners okay chicken farming operation

UPDATE:

On Tuesday, the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a proposed chicken farming operation for Costco.

It would include four barns housing more than 190,000 chickens in southwest Lancaster County on West Wittstruck Road.

Randy Essink will run the operation in partnership with Lincoln Premium Poultry.

"We’re excited for our grower," said LPP spokeswoman Jessica Kolterman.  "He’s gone through a very long process to really have this opportunity to go farm on his agriculture, his own land."

It wasn’t without opposition though.  Those who live near the proposed site said they’re concerned about the smell, water contamination and attracting bugs and coyotes.

"They’re going to get in there nonstop," Greg Hollman said.  "They’re going to be dragging them out, they’re going to be eating them.  They’re going to be growing, they’re going to be breeding because there’s more food.  I don’t need any more coyotes out there.  They’re going to be going into everybody else’s neighbor’s yards."

Chris Schroeder of the Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department said bacterial air pollution does come with operations like these.

"But what makes it difficult is that there aren’t any ambient air quality standards for microbial air pollution," Schroeder said.

He said the risk of groundwater contamination is minimal because of the soil type and depth of ground water.

Some board members said they understood neighbors’ concerns, but that they legally had to pass it.

"I really feel like today we don’t have data or information from the agencies charged with reviewing this application that provides us legal basis to deny this permit," Commissioner Jennifer Brinkman said.

All that’s left for Essink to do is apply for the NDEQ and well permits, then they’ll begin planning for building the barns.

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On Tuesday, the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners voted 3–2 in favor of a Costco chicken farming operation.

Some living near the site are concerned about the smell and environmental issues.

The farm would house 190,000 chickens in southwest Lancaster County on West Wittstruck Road.

Members of the board said they understand neighbors’ concerns, but that they legally had to pass it.

"I really feel like today we don’t have data or information from the agencies charged with reviewing this application that provides us legal basis to deny this permit," Commissioner Jennifer Brinkman said.

All that’s left for project leaders to do is apply for permits and then they’ll begin planning for building the barns.

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