County calls a halt to chicken houses
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Grady County Commissioners are tapping the brakes on construction of chicken houses in the county to give officials time to revise the code of ordinances if necessary.
A recent increase in the number of chicken houses and complaints related to the operation of some existing feeding operations prompted the board to take action this week.
During a special called meeting Tuesday morning, the board voted unanimously 4-0 to issue a moratorium on the issue of building permits for the construction of facilities housing animal feeding operations through June 1.
Commissioner June Knight asked how this moratorium would impact permits that had already been issued by the county. According to Gabe Ridley, attorney for the county commission, any permit issued prior to 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 10 would be permitted, but from 9 a.m. until June 1 no permits could be issued without further action by the board.
“This is nothing new for us. We’ve had to do this before,” board member LaFaye Copeland said.
Commissioner Ray Prince, a lifelong farmer who called for the moratorium, was absent Tuesday due to a health issue.
Grady County Commission Chairman Keith Moye said that with the sudden influx of chicken houses and with numerous complaints with regards to odor, noise and run-off from the chicken houses the board was forced to take action.
Attorney Ridley suggested the board might consider writing into the county’s ordinance an enforcement mechanism so that the county can monitor operation of animal feeding operations and enforce required operational procedures. However, Ridley also noted that enforcement costs money.
“We want to have time to study the issue and learn more about why we are suddenly getting so many more chicken houses here. We plan to talk with other counties about how they govern chicken houses as well as other issues,” Chairman Moye said.