The Leroux Creek Area Planning Committee has forwarded a specific development request for the Kuntz Chicken Ranch to the county planning commission with a recommendation for approval.
The county planning commission will hear and review the application request on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the county courthouse. The board of county commissioners will decide on the application at a later date.
According to the specific development application for the ag operation, it will be a cage-free, organic egg laying facility. The application states that up-to-date technology will be employed for monitoring water use, barn temperatures, feed consumption, chicken weights, and other factors to help ensure welfare of the chickens.
According to the application, "Chickens are kept for approximately 14 months and then they are sold for food processing. The barn is then cleaned and new chickens are brought in two weeks later."
David Kuntz, DVM, is proposing to house the business in a 26,000-plus square-foot barn he has already constructed on his property along Buffalo Road. He told the APC members that his sons will manage the chicken barn operation. He also has a cattle operation and raises cattle feed. The location is very rural with no close neighbors, the application notes.
Another resident of Buffalo Road, Dave Whittlesey, spoke in favor of the egg laying operation at the APC meeting. There were no comments against the plan.
There will be up to 20,000 laying hens in the barn. "The day-to-day operation will consist of walking through the barn at least two times a day and checking for any sick birds and packaging the eggs for storage in the cooler. This will be a one-person job," states the application.
Vehicle traffic generated by the facility will amount to a weekly feed delivery by a single-axel truck. Also approximately once a week a standard semi will deliver feed. Semis are also used for removal and restocking of chickens every 14 months, the application states.
The chicken ranch application included detailed site and drainage plans.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.