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CAFO-related hearings postponed once again

Staff and members of the Fayette County Area Planning Commission took their placeson stage at the Robert Wise Center for Performing Arts Monday. Pictured, from left, are Geoffrey Wesling, attorney; Bill MacDaniel, area planning director; Ed Herrell, APC chairman; Bev Rude, secretary; andAPC members Ruby Siler and Brian Durham. APC members Bill Macke and Stephanie McCann also attended.

Two firefighters came to help with crowd control. Channel 3 TV set up the video cameras. Members of two county regulating boards came and climbed onto the stage.

At 10 minutes till 7 Monday, Gary Naylor left the building, saying he was returning to the soccer field outside to finish watching a match.

The auditorium at Robert Wise Center for Performing Arts wasn’t filled with people concerned about plans to put a concentrated animal feeding operation in Posey Township. The Area Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals had moved the meeting there expecting a huge crowd.

But Naylor, representing the Fayette County Board of County Commissioners on the APC, left after he learned that, for the third time in as many months, all that the APC was going to do was postpone a hearing.

So the APC and then the Board of Zoning Appeals both postponed their hearings on the request of Mark J. and Dena J. Bills to designate part of their property as a public recreation facility. The same thing happened on July 8 and Aug. 13. Now, meetings are scheduled into October and November, but no one is sure those will happen either.

Last Wednesday, the BZA had heard an objection to the proceedings from the Bills’ attorney, and ruled that papers submitted by the people proposing the CAFO had been submitted late and shouldn’t be considered in the hearing. The BZA agreed with attorneys for both sides that Bill MacDaniel, the area planning director, would sort through the papers and propose which could be considered, but nothing would be sent out as guidance to APC and BZA members before the attorneys could agree.

An agreement over the papers hadn’t been reached before Monday’s meeting, so the APC and BZA had no choice but to delay again. The attorney for the Billses had asked for a 30-day delay. So the hearing on their petition has been put off until Wednesday, Oct. 16.

But it’s likely even that hearing will be pushed back. Andrew Dora, who is proposing the CAFO, filed his request for zoning approval on July 8, and that also has to come before the APC and BZA. Both board acted to set that for a hearing on Nov. 13. However, the Bills’ attorney has filed a remonstrance against that, and so it may be delayed again.

In fact, after the meetings, APC Chairman Ed Herrell said he thinks it’s highly likely the matter will end up in court.