County Planners Say Otoe County "Extremely" Livestock Friendly
Otoe County commissioners and county planning commission members discussed updates to the 2001 comprehensive development and zoning plan that balance land uses between farms and new houses.
County officials say Otoe County is "extremely" livestock friendly.
Zoning Administrator Dave Schmitz said Otoe County has some of the state's strongest protections for agricultural uses because there are not only setbacks between residences and livestock operations, but permits to build houses are not issued near fields the livestock producers use to spread animal waste.
Schmitz: "If they are trying to build a new home a quarter mile north of a manure application site, unless they get an impact easement from that feedlot operation, I can't issue a zoning permit for a new house."
He said the regulations also restrict new farm operations. Although the county allows up to 30,000 chickens without regulations, Otoe County was contacted by a company that wanted to have 75,000 chickens.
He said there was a house within 3/4 mile of the proposed site, so the company went elsewhere.
Schmitz said he suspects the setback regulations will be closely watched as changes are considered.
Dan Hodges, planning commission chair, said it depends upon public input, but he suspects the county will consider changes to the application setbacks.
We are extremely friendly to existing livestock regulations due to offsets on application areas and you could also probably make the case that we might be a little unfriendly to new operations coming in because it makes it very difficult to site those operations."
He said the county is also a little unfriendly to new development which can not build near fields where manure is surface spread.
Producers who have less than 300 head of cattle, 750 hogs over 55 pounds and 30,000 chickens are not regulated under the county regulations, but the county does have seven commercial hog operations.