The Board of County Commissioners on Monday voted to reaffirm their original specific development approvals for Western Slope Layers and Grand Mesa Layers.
The board's action comes as a result of a district court finding July 5.
It found the original approvals insufficient on four points.
A second set of hearings last month gathered more evidence and testimony on those four points. The commissioners' decision Monday presented their evaluation of the evidence they received.
Reading from a prepared text, Commission Chairman Olen Lund addressed the four points:
• The egg laying operations, in light of conflicting evidence, are sufficiently compatible with their rural, agricultural surroundings as required by the county Master Plan.
• Conflicting evidence on the effect of the hen houses on surrounding property values was not conclusive for either side.
• Inspections, reports and additional studies that have taken place since the approval show that the conditions of operation placed on the hen houses and the owners' management of them are sufficient to mitigate neighbors' environmental concerns.
• The commissioners have "full confidence" in the qualifications and competency of the county staff to monitor the operational plans as they are managed by the owners.
Commissioner Bruce Hovde questioned the relevance of adverse health studies offered by the hen house opponents. The studies that were used are for operations housing 100,000 to a million hens, he said. Western Slope and Grand Mesa Layers propose only 15,000 hens each. In addition, the adverse health effects cited came from studies of workers inside those facilities.
Commissioner Doug Atchley restated his view that the hen houses are agricultural operations and cited local and state regulations. He said the hen houses are in an ag area which, if Delta County had zoning, would be zoned agriculture.
The commissioners' action will move the case filed by five plaintiffs against those approvals back into district court.
The five plaintiffs filed their lawsuit against the county based in part on the four points the commissioners addressed in their reaffirmation.blog comments powered by Disqus