February 22nd, 2014 News

February 22nd, 2014

Need some ideas for your letter?

The SLEC board would like to share with you a letter written by our very own Tom Danford...

February 20, 2014

Steuben County Plan Commission
Steuben County Board of Zoning Appeals
c/o Frank Charlton, Plan Director
317 S. Wayne St. Ste. 3H
Angola, IN 46703-1900

RE: Special Exception for Keith Werner

Greetings Mr. Charlton, Plan Commission Members and Board of Zoning Appeals Members:

I am writing to request that you do not approve this application.

Please consider the following as you evaluate the merits of this application:

-The proposed development flies in the face of the Steuben County Comprehensive Plan on many levels.

-The proposed development will result in negative external influences to properties with combined assessed valuations approaching $400,000,000 that will result in losses in real property tax revenues of one million annually. Losses of this magnitude will surely be impactful on MSD Steuben and Prairie Heights School Districts.

-Contrary to IDEMs assurances and oversight, water quality will be impaired. This applies to both surface waters in our lakes and streams as well as the water in the aquifer from which thousands of wells service residences.

-High levels of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other gasses as well as particulate matter in excess of EPA suggested levels will be exhausted into the atmosphere. These, along with the accompanying odors, will surly reach highly populated areas as well as the City of Angola and Pokagon State Park as the proposed location is up wind of these areas based on the prevailing winds for this area.

-The compost facility will be an attractor of scavenger animals and birds. This will not only be a nuisance for residents, pets and wild animals in the area, it is also a hazard to road traffic as well as aviation.

-Insect infestation will increase which will not simply be nuisance but also a carrier of diseases jeopardizing the general health of impacted residences.

-All of the aforementioned will result in Steuben County no longer being a desired tourist destination. The decreases in tourism will have a deeply felt financial impact on the County.

-A two-mile stretch of CR 600 W from US 20 to the proposed operation will require significantly more maintenance at the taxpayers’ expense.

-Since this is a contract operation the local farmer will not own the herd. The owner will provide the contract farmer with feed, hormones, antibiotics, and many other supplies because the farmer doesn’t have the purchasing power to attain the pricing the owner does. Therefore very little for this operation will be acquired locally resulting in no gains to our local economy or tax base. Further, the owner is on record as stating he and his wife/fiancé will run the operation adding no jobs to our local economy.

-Millions of dollars have been spent on the Steuben Lakes Waste District to assure that human waste is controlled and not discharged into our lakes and waterways. A hog produces three times the waste of a human. If the average home is a family size of 3 then this is adding the equivalent of 4,800 homes not using sewage treatment. Further, hormones and antibiotics will be added to the mix. This “nutrient rich” bi-product (aka industrial farm waste) which studies show is 160 times more toxic than raw sewage will be applied to fields near our lakes and streams in a hasty manner to control costs and applied after the crops are harvested but before the ground freezes. Then more is applied before the fall application is used by farm crops again in the spring. Not only are the fields near lakes and waterways, but it is also sloping and porous. On what level is this sensible?

Please take the time to study the impact operations of this nature have had on their host communities. I encourage you to go visit and reach out to community leaders, business owners and residents near Grand Lake St Mary’s in Ohio or those in Hudson, Michigan. Both of those locations permitted this type of development; the impact is astounding.

Attached please review a couple letters that I have received from folks who became involuntary neighbors to CAFOs. Do we really need to have stories of this nature coming from Steuben County? Is this the community image that we want?

If you play with fire, expect to get burnt. Our future is entrusted in your good stewardship.

Sincerely,

Thomas S. Danford

Certified Public Accountant

Links of Interest:

-Letter Example #1

-Letter Example #2

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