Following a long discussion, the Burnett County Board of Supervisors approved a number of animal waste and livestock facility ordinance recommendations. The next step will be to figure out if the Land Use or Natural Resources will take up these recommendations.
These recommendations came from the ad-hoc Large-Scale Livestock (LSLS) Committee. That committee met numerous times over the last 18 months. Most of their meetings were informational, learning about manure management, soil types and the potential effect of the safety and health of the public.
The LSLS committee was started following a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) applied for a permit to build a large hog facility in Trade Lake.
On Thursday, there was a lot of discussion on sacrificial zones. Many board members said it was an unfortunate phrase and Corporate Counsel Dave Grindell suggested calling them opportunity zones.
These sacrificial or opportunity zones would have no animal unit limit. The idea is those zones are sacrificed so that other areas can have animal unit limits.
The zoning recommendations in the county would be to add this sacrificial zone or exclusive agriculture, these zones would have no animal limits. A-1 zoning land would be removed from ordinances and moved to A-2 or A-4. Both A-2 or A-4 would have animal limits of 500 animal.
Other recommendations revolved around ordinances, penalties and permits.
Supervisor Ramona Moody and other supervisors wanted to know if it was possible to extend the moratorium again. Corporate Counsel Grindell and attorney Larry Konopacki, who has been hired on retainer for this issue, said they would need to discuss the matter of extending the moratorium.
Public comments were made before the county board discussed the issue. They all thought the ad-hoc committee fell short of their duty to research the CAFO issue. This issue would be discussed when Konopacki explained how municipalities hands are tied due to Wisconsin siting laws.
Konopacki said the Wisconsin siting laws put great limitations on local control and prohibits local government from making big changes with zoning.
“It’s a narrow lane,” Konopacki added.
Members of the LSLS committee reiterated this phrase.
“It was shocking to learn how little authority we have,” Supervisor Craig Conroy said. “Blame the state legislator, not Burnett County.”
Supervisor Duane Johnson added, “If you have an issue with this, go to Madison.”