The Story County Board of Supervisors declined to take action on a manure management plan for a proposed livestock feeding operation near Collins during a meeting Tuesday that drew nearly 40 people.
Thirty-seven people signed in at the meeting held in the boardroom in the county administration building in Nevada. Of those, 14 spoke. Some spoke about concerns with water and air pollution they said would be caused by the operation. Others spoke about concerns with health of family members, or the effect the confinement would have on their smaller, organic farms nearby.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Sanders said the outpouring of public comment prompted the board to schedule a second hearing for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, at the Collins town hall.
The hog feeding operation is being proposed by Kyle Mens, who proposed and then withdrew his application to build a hog confinment near Hickory Grove Park last year.
His latest plan is to build a hog confinment south of Collins, near the Jasper County line.
The supervisors "decided there was enough there, a couple of questions about the application that we were uncertain on that we took no action," Sanders said. "There was clearly enough comment and interest from the people to warrant giving the people an opportunity in the evening to give their input on this."
Although residents may object and seek action by the county, boards of supervisors have little if any authority to approve or reject construction of livestock operations.
Operators must comply with criteria ensuring a confinement is not too close to homes and waterways. Operators also have to submit a plan for how they will manage manure produced at the facility.
If a hog confinement is less than 2,500 animals and complies with requirements set forth in state code, officials with the DNR have little recourse but to approve the owner’s application to build it. If the facility is more than 2,500 animals, a scoring system called the Master Matrix is triggered, allowing local officials to seek additional requirements before a confinement is built.
Sanders said the primary role of the county is to gather public comment.
A telephone message left Tuesday for Mens was not returned.