A Hartsville pork producer who wants to establish a confined feeding hog operation near Anderson Falls Park will be allowed to bring a new proposal before county zoning officials this month.
This time, William Gelfius wants to have a 4,400-head swine operation, instead of a proposal for 8,800 that he withdrew in February.
The operation is planned on 378 acres along East County Road 200N in eastern Bartholomew County.
Bartholomew County Board of Zoning Appeals members Wednesday unanimously approved allowing Gelfius to seek a zoning exception to locate the swine operation there, saying the proposal is substantially different than the one that was withdrawn.
Rules require that petitioners who withdraw petitions cannot refile them for a year, unless they are substantially different from the previous proposal.
Columbus-Bartholomew County Assistant Planning Director Melissa Begley said a new public hearing will be scheduled before the next board meeting, but when that will be hasn’t been determined.
“We will be sending out a re-notice to all the surrounding property owners and all of the folks who have been previously (notified),” she said.
The new proposal will be considered by the zoning board at 7 p.m. June 23 at Columbus City Hall’s council chambers.
Gelfius’ new plan halves the number of pigs, adds more storage capacity for manure and offers a full tree buffer that would not call for eliminating trees from neighboring properties.
His efforts to receive a zoning exception have generated opposition from a group calling itself the Anderson Falls CAFO Fighters. CAFO refers to concentrated animal feeding operation.
The group had fought the Gelfius proposal at zoning meetings earlier this year, saying nearby neighbors would have to deal with the manure smell from the hogs, increased truck traffic and trees along existing property lines being taken out as part of the operation’s construction.
Jim Murray, a member of the Anderson Falls CAFO Fighters, said the group will fight Gelfius’ latest proposal, too, because it still presents the same concerns about possible contamination of ground water and harm to property values and the Anderson Falls Nature Preserve.
And, he said that the number of hogs in the new proposal is a little misleading, because it’s 4,400 at one time. When those hogs are finished, another 4,400 are brought in.
“That’s a lot of manure,” Murray said.
Murray said the opposition group was disheartened that the zoning appeals board didn’t discuss Gelfius’ newest proposal before voting on it.
Gelfius filed a request with the Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department for the 8,800 swine confined feeding operation Dec. 23, 2013.
On Jan. 27, about 135 residents attended a public hearing at the Bartholomew County Council chambers.
The public hearing was then pushed back to Feb. 24, but the application was pulled by Gelfius before the meeting, according to the Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department.
Assistant Managing Editor Kirk Johannesen contributed to this story.