Dairy critics threaten another lawsuitALEXANDRIA — Opponents of a proposed 7,000-head dairy in Hanson County urged their county commissioners Tuesday to cancel building permits obtained by the dairy’s developers or risk a lawsuit.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
ALEXANDRIA — Opponents of a proposed 7,000-head dairy in Hanson County urged their county commissioners Tuesday to cancel building permits obtained by the dairy’s developers or risk a lawsuit.
R. Shawn Tornow, attorney for Rob Bender, of rural Fulton, and state Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, addressed the county commissioners Tuesday morning. Tornow asked the commission to take a closer look at the proposed dairy’s conditional use permit, which he argued should be expired, according to a county ordinance.
The Hanson County Planning and Zoning Commission granted the dairy and its main developer, Michael Crinion, a conditional use permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation in August 2007.
He was also granted a county building permit last May.
Tornow referenced a county ordinance that states if work for any building permit issued in Hanson County has not begun after 180 days or been substantially completed after two years, it expires and should be cancelled by the county zoning administrator.
County officials have said they knew the deadlines would not be met by the dairy, but the county chose to keep the permits valid.
“The very first meeting he came, we discussed there was no way to get a project of $50 million or whatever it was off the ground (in the time specified),” Hanson County Equalization Director Mary Wilcox told The Daily Republic earlier this month. “So we take the rules that we had and adjust and apply as needed.”
Tornow said the group would consider challenging the permit in court if the commission refuses to act in accordance with the ordinance.
“Those actions that take place from here on out are subject to challenge,” he said. “Nothing is off the table at this point.” Tornow already represents the dairy opponents in a lawsuit challenging the proposed dairy’s state water permit.
The Hanson County Commission did not immediately respond to the dairy opponents’ concerns or take any other official action regarding the proposed dairy during its Tuesday morning meeting.