CAFO moratorium lifted, county’s limits now in effect


An ordinance approved in November regulating size, placement and odor control of confined animal feeding operations can now be used since a moratorium on such operations expired Monday.

Jackson County Commissioners approved the updated ordinance in a 2-1 vote, but a moratorium banning the construction of large livestock operations until March was put in place by commissioners at the same time. That meant there was no need for the ordinance at that time.

The moratorium was then extended for three months in March by the commissioners, who hoped to see the legislature impose some rules for use across the state. Legislators, however, have asked Purdue University’s College of Agriculture to study local rules and restrictions in place across the state and report those findings to the legislature by Nov. 1.

On Tuesday, the commissioners met and did not vote to put the ban back into place, which means the moratorium expired Monday.

The Jackson County Planning and Zoning office has not received any applications for a CAFO since the ordinance was enacted in November.

The original ordinance concerning large livestock operations had not been updated since 1968. That ordinance required large livestock operations to be at least 300 feet from a residence, while the new one requires a 500-foot setback. The updated ordinance also states that any new CAFO must be located at least 1,000 feet from a public-use area, educational institution or religious institution.

There also should be a half-mile between future CAFOs and all residential districts, 1,500 feet from a public water supply and 300 feet from a well.

The setbacks for a CAFO from a road are to be 200 feet at the front, side and rear, while the minimum lot area is to be 20 acres.

An operation may not be located closer than one mile from the corporate limits of a city or town or a half-mile from an unincorporated city or town.

Planting of trees or shrubs as a barrier should be made at the beginning of the operation and meet a minimum height of about 6 feet within five years.

The ordinance lays out how the site plan is to be outlined for the building commissioner and also how odor control is addressed.

All CAFO applications must meet regulations by the Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals and have to be approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management before the filing of an application with the building commissioner.

Those wanting to build in a special flood hazard area also must have approval from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

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