Chicken barn OK'd

By Hank Lohmeyer


The Board of County Commissioners on Monday approved the specific development application for Kurtz Chicken Ranch on Redlands Mesa.

Approval came on a 3-0 vote.

The county planning department will now draft an official development agreement between the county and David Kurtz, DVM, for operation of the facility. The BoCC will review and take final action on the agreement at an upcoming meeting.

The board's vote Monday came with conditions that planning staff had recommended be included. Those conditions are as follows:

• All outside lighting shall be hooded and/or pointed towards the ground so as not to pollute the night sky and not allow any glare onto adjacent properties.

• Noxious weeds shall be controlled on the property at all times.

• The project's engineer shall certify with his registered professional engineer stamp that the drainage

structures were constructed as specified in the drainage plan and that they will function as planned upon completion of the construction drainage system.

• There shall be no egg washing conducted at the facility.

• Any changes or alterations to the development shall be submitted to the Delta County Planning Department for approval. If the impacts for any changes or alterations are significant, a new application shall be submitted and full review with approval from the Delta County Board of County Commissioners and a new development agreement will be required prior to any construction or expansion of the operation.

A revised drainage plan document for the facility had been submitted prior to the BoCC meeting. Kurtz's attorney, Ben Wegener of Grand Junction, said that the term "conceptual" had been removed from the drainage plan document.

In acting on the chicken ranch application, commissioners noted that the specific development application had gone through a public hearing process beginning with the Leroux Creek APC on Sept. 15 and the County Planning Commission on Sept. 23. Both advisory bodies had recommended approval of the application.

Commissioner Doug Atchley made a motion for approval of the application "based on the information I have in front of me."

Commission chair Mark Roeber noted that the board had received and reviewed all of the public comments that had been submitted during

the public process. "I feel the questions have been answered. It's time to get on with it," Roeber said before calling for the vote.

Kurtz has constructed a barn to house 20,000 hens to lay organic eggs in a cage-free environment. Construction of the barn, as an agricultural building, required no government reviews or approvals. However, putting the barn to use housing chickens in a "confined animal feeding operation" requires county specific development application, public process, and BoCC approval.

Kurtz told the commissioners that the operation will be a franchise of Fairfield Specialty Eggs. The company will purchase and market the eggs produced. Kurtz said that his two sons will be principal operations of the chicken barn and egg operation.