Smith Land and Cattle Company has filed suit against the Madison County government for not allowing a planned fertilizer facility on Hwy. 172.
Jeff Smith and his brother, Stephen, want to operate a manure/litter drying facility on Hwy. 172. They were recently informed in a letter by county commission chairman John Scarborough that the property needs to be zoned for industrial use, not for agriculture.
Scarborough told the Smiths that a rezoning would be needed, since the county attorney determined that the facility constituted “manufacturing” and wouldn’t be allowed as currently zoned. The chairman said more study has been done on the proposal and that the county attorney is not done reviewing the matter, but he said this week that the initial determination of a needed rezoning remains in effect.
Now, the brothers have taken legal action. They say that the zoning is appropriate and that the planned use of the facility doesn’t constitute manufacturing.
Homans requested that the court issues a “writ of mandamus” requiring the county to issue a building permit to the Smiths “to proceed with construction of an accessory building including necessary components such as the electrical system.”
Rich and Karen Justin live next to the proposed litter-drying facility. They say similar facilities emit powerful odors and seriously impact the quality of life for nearby residents. They said the building doesn’t meet county setback requirements, that grading for the building has led to significant water runoff problems on their property and that the Smith’s plans aren’t in line with current zoning.
They’ve appealed to county commissioners to help stop the development. A hearing before Superior Court Judge Chris Phelps is set for 9:30 a.m., July 18.