Neighbors are happy but wary after plans for a large hog-feeding operation near Center Point were withdrawn.
“That happened because local people stood up and said ‘no,’” said Regina Behmlander. “That part’s a victory, but that’s tempered by the fact he could any time turn around and re-apply.”
Behmlander, her husband Chris, and their three sons live two miles southeast of the site of the proposed 5,661-hog operation at 4853 W. Otter Rd., on property owned by Kenneth and Rebecca Ditch.
Behmlander led opposition to the application to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources from the Ditchs’ son Matt Ditch. Their protests convinced county supervisors, who voted 4-1 Oct. 24 to challenge several points on the “master matrix” accompanying Ditch’s application.
Matt Ditch withdrew his application Tuesday. He didn’t respond to a call seeking comment today.
“The applicant determined that we probably weren’t going to approve it” based on the county’s challenge, said Bill Ehm, administrator of the DNR’s environmental services division. “That’s generally what happens in those cases. It’s simpler to withdraw the application” than to contest the challenge.
Ehm said Matt Ditch may re-submit his application with changes addressing the supervisors’ challenge.
“He could submit a new application tomorrow,” Ehm said.
Ehm said Matt Ditch could also develop a feeding operation for up to 2,499 hogs, one under the DNR’s minimum requirement for filing a scoring matrix. An operation of that size would require a DNR-approved plan to manage and dispose of the hogs’ manure, he said.