From: James Murray
Bartholomew County is at a crossroads, and most residents are unaware of our dilemma. Our county has long been considered an agricultural community with a healthy commercial/industrial mixture and a growing residential sector. The decisions we make in the next 12 months could change all that.
Look to our neighbors to the east to see what’s coming our way. A few years ago Decatur County had a handful of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) — hog factories. Now Decatur County has twice as many hogs as people. Stench, manure pollution of our streams and rivers, decreased property values, and grave public and environmental health concerns are on the way.
Our commissioners have just become aware of this issue and have begun an investigation into the adequacy of our existing zoning regulations. Our extension office is heading up the effort.
The problem is that there is no moratorium on applications. Two new mega-factories are seeking local approval right now. Our pro-farming Board of Zoning Appeals seems unwilling to even delay its decisions until our citizens can participate in the zoning evaluation effort.
CAFOs are not farms; they are factories. Decatur County has 74 of them that have driven away existing neighbors, devastated property values, and caused concerns for public and environmental health and safety.
North Carolina has already placed a moratorium on new sites. Please contact the commissioners at 379-1515 and request a hold be placed on all applications.