DARLINGTON – The Land Conservation Committee met on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at the Lafayette County Board Room.
During the agenda approval Kriss Marion, committee and county board member, asked when the agenda was posted. Nikki Larson said they aim for a week’s notice, but we were running late. Thursday it was posted well before the twenty-four hours which is required. Marion said, “I wasn’t asking legally. The issue is we are representing the community, and we want to keep them informed.”
on Holland Road
A manure storage facility was built on the Richard Kamps property on Holland Road without permits. The committee has been discussing and debating the issue since March 2017 and the case has also gone into the court system. The court granted a default judgment that could fine Kamps $100 per day, since April 6, 2017 and a restraining order banning the use of the facility until it is in compliance. The committee has been debating whether or not to actually enforce the fine. The issue was first notice in Spring 2016 and was built in 2015.
Terry Loeffelholz, Lafayette County Planning/Zoning Department Manager, started the conversation stating the first day Kamps could be fined was April 6 and the facility came into compliance June 9. That totals 63 days of $100 fines per day or $6,300. The county has incurred $1,479 in attorney fees on this matter. Loeffelholz said, “I was asking for compliance on the ordinance and we got compliance. I think if we get the attorney fees paid for, the point has been proven. That’s what I would ask for.”
Marion said, “I am not in favor of waiving the fine. We rarely prosecute or follow through. I think if we go ahead with the fine, it sends the message that we are watching out for our ground water and I think we should send that message.” Ed James (via speaker phone) stated whatever we do here will set a precedence. Micah Bahr, committee member, said, “I think that’s something we should be doing, we should be setting a precedence. The longer we let the slippery slope go, the harder it will be to make every one come into compliance.”
Marion made a motion that we collect a fine of $6,300, plus legal fees from the land owner. Second by Bahr. Leon Wolfe, committee and county board member, opposed the motion, stating, “I think we need to be considerate of the time involved and once he realized he had to get it done. I would be in favor of fining him for fifteen days that he didn’t respond, plus legal fees.” Jack Sauer, county board chair agreed with Wolfe.
The motion on the table ($6,300, plus legal fees) and was voted on, the results were 4 – yes, 3 – no. Approved. It was noted Kamps would have the right to appeal.
Manure Storage Ordinance
The issue in the current ordinance for some members of the committee is that manure facilities under 5,000 cubic feet are not regulated by Lafayette Land Conservation or anybody. The other issue is systems that are made of cinder blocks, which in the opinion of some members is not an acceptable material for manure storage. Bahr stated he thought the ordinance should be lowered to 1,000 cubic feet. Hammer thought that would be over regulating and made some disparaging remarks about the DNR.
Under public comments - Mark Kieler said, “Many manure facilities aren’t made with the required two feet of clay all the way around them. This committee is putting everyone in Lafayette County at risk (water supply) by looking the other way. Why keep turning a blind eye to something, when you know it ain’t right?”
Another public comment was made - when Brad Sims, DNR was here, he said the small constant, continuous manure pit leakages are much more detrimental to our ground water, than the acute one time spills.
Discussion about the issue continued.
Sauer suggested that the committee look at other county ordinances and how they handle manure setups. A motion by Wolfe to table this discussion until we review other county ordinances, such as Vernon, Iowa and Green Counties. Approved
Melissa Bartz gave a report which included: City of Shullsburg riprap; Rich Althaus riprap and crossing design; CVM Farm, LLC riprap completed; Keleher Rev. Trust crossing completed; Scott Pedley riprap (2 sites); Jay Stauffacher manure storage cost sharing; Conservation Observance day; DNR permit for Blanchard’s Cricket Frog; reviewed Dan Haldiman’s manure storage plan.
Previous Land Conservation Minutes....
March7 Manure Storage on Holland Road-Discussion & Possible Action: Loeffelholz stated that in 2015 a manure storage facility was built on Holland Road, without permits. It was discovered in the spring of 2016, and Loeffelholz had worked with them last summer, but they haven’t gotten very far. He called County Board Chairman Sauer regarding the use of Corporate Counsel. Loeffelholz was told he would need a Committee motion to proceed.
The landowner was told that they need to bring the storage up to NRCS standards, and it needs to be certified by a qualified Engineer. If the structure can’t be certified the site would need to be properly abandoned. This requires removing the structure and taking it down to soils that pass the smell test.
Motion by Hammer and second by Bartels to have Corporate Counsel deal with this site.
In further discussion: The landowner had Austin Engineering look at the site, but they said they were not able to certify that it met the standards because of the water. The Storage is over 5,000 cubic feet. It is not an animal siting issue, but under the Manure Storage Ordinance. The site is low and wet. The landowner has contacted an engineer. Call for the vote. Motion carried.
June 6 Update on Manure Storage on Holland Road: Loeffelholz said that they had gone to court. There was some mix-up of time-the Docket said 3:00, and the papers said 3:30. MSA was hired as a general contractor. They will be pouring concrete next week, there is an earthmover to dig it out and compact the clay. They will also pull a permit. The engineer will sign off. The fine will be discussed in the future, after the project is done.
Update on Manure Storage on Holland Road: It has gone to Corp Counsel, and a letter has been sent to the landowner. A civil action is scheduled for April 14. The landowner had signed with MSA (Engineering firm) earlier this week, and soil borings will be done later this week. The possible fine is $100/day, and could go back to the day the letter was sent. James asked the possible outcomes. After seeing the borings three things can happen: 1) If it meets the standards, everything is ok. 2) If it doesn’t meet: it could be modified and then stamped by the engineering firm; or 3) it may need to be removed and redone according to the standards. The fine may change, or be negotiated if the project is done, but for now, the clock has started ticking.
Reopening of Manure Storage Ordinance: Marion commented that a lot of counties are using moratoriums on storages. They are using this time to implement Groundwater Ordinances. Green County is voting on having inspections every 3 years on all manure storages.
Bahr said he thinks capacity size should be lower; it is now at 5,000 cubic feet. He feels there are problems with the smaller ones. He would like to have the ordinance lowered to 1,000 cubic feet.
Loeffelholz commented that would only be storage of 10 X 10 X 10 or 20 X 20 X 5. This would cover most stacking pads.
Bahr – It would be for liquid manure storage only, not bed pack.
Loeffelholz asked about winter barnyards. If NRCS builds a stack pad, it follows the 313 Standard. This would trigger a lot of sites.
Education should be offered, they should apply for a permit, and it should require an engineer, and inspections.
Loeffelholz-Septic inspections are required by State Statute. If the Ordinance goes to the 1,000 cu. Ft., an additional staff person will need to be budgeted for.
Hammer-Kewaunee County has been blaming livestock, but 50% of their problems have been found to come from septics. We should clean up Knee Deep first.
Wolfe-Any modifications would apply only to new applications. This would have to go through the full Ordinance process. He is opposed to being more stringent. We should wait for the water testing analysis. This would be at least half of the livestock farms in the County.
Marion-We have big business issues now, the County should be working on it now. We have Atrazine banned areas. We need to protect everyone going forward. Permitting is a form of education; it isn’t a punishment.
Expansions are already over 5,000. Loeffelholz stated they are going to catch existing farms that currently pile manure. Bahr stated on-ground is not regulated in the Ordinance. Hammer stated he felt it is over-regulating.
Motion by Bartels to table, and second by James. Motion carried.