It's no surprise that the chicken house controversy continues. As well it should.
I've had plenty to say about this issue and will continue to speak out, because the circumstances surrounding this issue are an outrage. But I am going to boil it down to two major problems.
The first problem should be obvious to anyone: How does a judge trump a county commission land use ruling? OK, let's say the plaintiffs' medical issue complaints are provable and believable (just for the sake of argument). In any other situation, the appropriate legal ruling is that the defendants must pay for medical costs for plaintiffs and mitigate future harm. Period. Stop. A judge is not the head of OSHA or the health department, nor is he the final say in land use rulings. If this were the case, then we wouldn't need county commissioners or the planning department. Because in fact, what we all now know is that you can jump through all the expensive hoops the planning department and health department require (through "specific development regulations", aka zoning) and think you are safe when you have complied at great expense, only to have an angry litigious neighbor go to the NEW head of planning and health departments (aka Judge Patrick) and WALA! Your compliance means nothing. You were legal, and now you're not. And you better believe the Nouveau Good Ol' Boys Club of progressives will now be using this new tool in their war kit frequently.
The second problem may not be quite as obvious to those who didn't attend the public hearings on this matter. I did. I was there at the first hearing when the commissioners approved the chicken house, and saw with my own eyes Susan Raymond stomp out of the room, calling angrily over her shoulder to the commissioners that she would see them in court. This was before the chicken house was built and there were no chickens (or the ensuing catastrophic health problems caused by them). The health concerns at that time voiced by what are now "the plaintiffs" were that dead chickens would fill the gullies of Delta County and wash into the reservoirs, killing everyone in the vicinity. But by far, the biggest and main complaint against the chicken farms was "view sheds, property values, and neighborhood compatibility." These people did not want an ag operation to plop down in the middle of their ag neighborhood.
I maintain that THAT is still the main complaint, but in court you just throw as much mud at the wall as you can to see what will stick. And what stuck was what Judge Patrick felt (and I purposefully use the word "felt," not the word "thought") fell into his purview as head of the health and planning departments. Accepting the premise of this frivolous lawsuit is a rejection of the rule of law.