Madison County — NO FERTILIZER PLANT

The Madison County board of commissioners were unmoved by an appeal Oct. 10 by brothers Stephen and Jeff Smith who want to put a fertilizer drying facility at 1815 Hwy. 172.
The Board voted 5-0 to uphold a previous denial to allow the operation in an intensive agriculture zone because they maintain it does not comply with current zoning regulations.
The company, Smith Land and Cattle Company, owned by the brothers, filed suit against the county in July for the original decision not to allow the plant.
The Smiths and their attorney, Joseph Houmans, said the matter concerned a building permit and was not a zoning issue. Houmans also said Oct. 10 that the county’s zoning ordinance for intensive agriculture was “ambiguous at best, and when that was the case, the landowner should prevail. He also maintained that the zoning is appropriate and that the planned use of the facility doesn’t constitute the definition of manufacturing in the ordinance.

Attorney Michael Pruett, in this case representing the county building inspector’s office instead of the board, said the county zoning ordinance listed permitted uses in an intensive agricultural designation and that this type operation was not on the list. And Pruett told the board, which was represented for this meeting by attorney Daniel Haygood, that the Smiths should have come to the board and requested that they amend the zoning ordinance to address this “new thing” and things might have been different.

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