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Delta Commissioners Long Overdue on Hen House Decision


It’s been more than a month since the Delta County Commissioners held a special public hearing to take more evidence in a decision on whether to allow two laying hen operations in the county. KVNF’s Ariana Brocious reports that neighbors of the already-operational hen house on Powell Mesa are tired of waiting for the county to act.

September’s hearing was required after a District Court Judge overturned the county’s approval of the two hen house operations in July. The judge identified four areas that were lacking in evidence and thorough review, and sent the decision back to the commissioners for a do-over.

Delta County’s own regulations require that it make a decision on such development applications within 14 days of a hearing. But the commissioners have still not released a new decision. Earl Rhodes is an attorney representing Powell mesa residents in a lawsuit against the county over the approval of the hen houses. Since July, he’s been insisting that the county issue a cease and desist order to Powell Mesa hen house owner Edwin Hostetler. On Friday, he filed another such request to the judge.

The county has allowed an illegal use to continue from at least July 5th, 2012 to the present. The purpose of the order is to confirm that my clients, the plaintiffs, have prevailed in the lawsuit, and to get the message across to the county that it must do something.

The county has still not issued a cease and desist order to Hostetler. Delta County attorney Christine Knight says they were not ordered to do so by the court—just to issue a new decision. Knight agrees the commissioners are delayed in making their decision, but says they needed to extend the time because of the volume of new evidence on record after the September hearing.

The commissioners are certainly taking the neighbors concerns very seriously. They did commission an air study and that’s one of the reasons it’s taking them so long to review all of the evidence in front of them before issuing a new decision.

Knight says the commissioners will make their decision by the end of the month.

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