space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Bulldogs Snag Silver at Antigo Soccer Invite
* 18th Annual Della Deau Memorial Golf Outing
* Wolves Defeat Bulldogs in Straight Sets
* Wolverines Unable to Repel Rebel Assault
* Chenier's Medalist Round Leads Marines to Silver

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Oconto County Rejects Variance For B & D Dairy

A variance sought by B & D Dairy to construct a 12 million-gallon manure storage facility closer than 250 feet to the nearest property line off Hillcrest Road in the Town of Little River was denied by Oconto County Board at the conclusion of an hour-long formal appeal hearing on Thursday, May 18.

B & D Dairy is owned by Brian Lepianka and his wife, Danette Ossmann. Its main dairy cow operation is located in the Town of Grover in Marinette County. Manure from that farm would be hauled to property they own in the Town of Little River in winter to be stored in the proposed pit. In spring and summer it would be delivered by a hose system to fertilize fields on which they raise feed crops.

The narrow 14 to 15 County Board vote rejecting the variance came after nearly an hour of testimony and discussion at the board's regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 18. There were no proposals to modify the variance conditions, although that was a third option.

The 14 supervisors who voted to support the variance as recommended by the LCC were Chair Lee Rymer, Elmer Ragen, Darrel Pagel, Dennis Kroll, Robert Pott, Al Stranz, Karl Ballestad, Jim Lacourciere, Buzz Kamke, Bill Grady Mary Lemen, Paul Bednarik, Richard Nelson, and Alan Sleeter. Supervisors Gary Frank and Ron Korzeniewski were absent.

Those opposed were supervisors Don Girardi, Chris Augustine, Vernon Zoeller, Diane Nichols, Robert Reinhart, Gerald Beekman, Rose Stellmacher, Melissa Wellens, Ken Linzmeyer, Greg Sekela, Doug McMahon, Ryan Wendt, Judith Buhrandt, Don Bartels Jr. and David Christianson.

Oconto County Conservationist Ken Dolata said County Board rejection of the variance does not mean the storage facility cannot be built on the Town of Little River acreage purchased by B & D Dairy for growing feed crops, but does mean it cannot be sited on the property exactly as planned, and in the spot the Land Conservation Committee (LCC) felt was the best location.

The variance had been approved by unanimous vote of the LCC in April, following a site visit. Provisions were that it be built no closer than 153 feet from the nearest property, with conditions that the landowner (B & D Dairy) install and maintain a safety fence around the storage facility and that emergency spill detention basins be constructed on the west side between the storage structure and stream and on the north and south sides of the driveways with a volume that would hold the contents of the largest semi tanker. Plans for these conditions were to be approved by the LCC division before installation. The property it would have been closest to is also owned by B & D Farms, but is separated from the main acreage by Hillcrest Road.

At its April 10 meeting at Little River Town Hall the committee had listened to public testimony, and 24 persons filled out public hearing appearance cards. Dolata had explained the ordinance and reasons for requesting the variance. Jennifer Keuning and Nicholas Coady of GHD Services, Inc. explained the variance requested on behalf of B & D Dairy and discussed some of the specifics and details for the planned storage facility and surrounding area. Committee vote granting the variance was six to zero.

After that vote, the LCC received 27 requests to appeal the variance. By County Ordinance, County Board is designated as the Appeals body to review the action taken by the LCC and could either affirm, reverse or modify the committee decision.

Corporation Counsel Cheryl Mick explained to County Board at the start of the formal appeal hearing that if the variance was rejected, B&D Dairy could either appeal to circuit court by seeking a writ of certiorari (which could leave the variance intact), or go back to the LCC for a permit without the variance.

Dolata said despite numerous objections from neighbors and town officials if B&D Dairy chooses to apply for the permit without the variance, his department will have to grant it if the plan meets all the ordinance requirements, and he believes it does.

He explained Oconto County has an ordinance through which anyone wanting to build an animal waste facility there must get a permit from the Land Conservation Department. Land Conservation staff and the committee first verify that the proposed facility meets all state and federal requirements. If it does, the permit must be granted. "The committee cannot refuse a permit if the project meets all the requirements," he repeated.

Dolata said ironically, the variance would have allowed the facility to be built closer to the lot line with the other parcel owned by B&D, but farther from its nearest actual neighbor, who was one of the objectors. Had the variance remained intact the pit would have been 153 feet from another property owned by B&D Dairy, but under separate deed because it is across the road. Now it must be 250 feet from that line, but will be almost 100 feet closer to one of the neighbors who appealed.

Dolata said part of the committee rationale in granting the variance was that the pit could be put deeper in the ground and moved toward the line with B & D's own property and 97 feet farther away from the neighbors to the south.

The main farm of the 7,000-head B & D Dairy operation is located in the Town of Grover in Marinette County. County Board was told plans are to haul manure from there to the storage pit in Little River mainly during winter months when roads are frozen. By means of a pipe line system, with no further trucking involved, manure from the pit will be used to fertilize feed crop fields at various times during the spring and summer.

To Dolata's knowledge, no public funds will be involved in building the B&D facility. He explained once over about 700 dairy cows, the state and federal governments consider the farm a "Confined Area Feed Operation" (CAFO), which must get a permit from the DNR to operate and is not eligible for any state or federal funds.

According to the B & D Dairy website, B and D Dairy is "a modern, family farm where cows and family are the focus....Owners Brian Lepianka and his wife, Danette Ossmann are the third generation to farm on the northeastern Wisconsin site of B and D Dairy. Their sons, Nathan and Reily, join them as the 4th generation....B an D Dairy works with 85 different families who own much of the 7000 acres of land they are able to use to produce corn silage and alfalfa for their 7500 animals....The dairy provides an income for the families of 35 employees who work to keep the cows milked, and ensure all animals are given the best nutrition and a clean, comfortable environment."

At the start of the County Board hearing, Mick explained the procedure, which she said does not happen very often. She said B&D Dairy was granted the variance, and GHD Engineering drew the design for them.

Persons objecting to the variance were entitled to deposit written evidence regarding their position, and appear in person. She said all County Board members had received copies of the complaints.

Main concerns expressed by neighbors centered on odors, loss of property values, damage to town roads, and possible contamination of groundwater should a spill or leak occur, or if manure was spread too heavily on fields.

Mick explained only those who had a complaint that their rights, duties or privileges were affected could appeal.

"We're here today to listen to you," Rymer assured everyone in the filled board room.

Dolata explained the proposed project and gave a brief history of the animal waste ordinance adopted in 2002 with input from a citizen's advisory committee.

He said the proposed project is to be a "satellite collector" for animal wastes from the main farm in Marinette County. It is to be a concrete lined put that will be filled in winter with manure to be spread on fields in spring.

He said with the variance, because of elevations dikes around the pit could be four to five feet high instead of 10 to 12 feet, and the pit would be 97 feet from the nearest neighbor. The committee felt having it built into the ground also would be safer.

Dolata said the DNR does not have setback requirements for these facilities, but does make sure concrete meet specifications and verifies that the pit is the proper distance from the water table. The location allowed by the variance is the highest elevation available on the property.

First opponent to testify was Robert Desjarlais, who said he had been asked by Little River residents to represent them at the hearing. He has been Town Chair for 8 years and member of the town board for 10 years.

He said he had been at the first meeting, "and it was kind of a hot topic in our township." There was a petition with about 100 signatures, and 60 to 70 people attended the hearing, at which he felt the public was disregarded. "We did get off the subject," he admitted.

He said during the on-site visit there were perhaps 25 to 30 people waiting at the gate, but the committee drove past them and went to the proposed pit location without inviting them. "I have never seen an onsite visit done in that fashion," he declared.

He said Little River lies in a protected watershed, there is a navigable stream on the property, gas lines are on two sides, and a town road on one side. He felt the variance was requested because without it, there is absolutely no room to expand the pit. With it there is.

He said it is the opinion of Little River residents that the reason for the variance was to save money for the owner, "and you cannot grant a variance for economic gain."

Desjarlais said he was on the Plan Committee when the ordinance was adopted, and "Our main goal was to allow agriculture to function while protecting the environment."

Mick interrupted to ask him what adverse effect the variance had on him or the people he was speaking for.

He replied mainly there are concerns about groundwater quality and property values.

Mick said there is no evidence that the groundwater quality will be affected, "but you believe that (concern) affects property values?" Desjarlais said that was true.

Next called was Doug Allen, who lives in Little Suamico and represents the Farm Service Agency on the LCC. Allen said he does not live in Little River, but does represent the LCC and is in favor of the variance.

Next speaker against the variance was Richard Kloes, who has the farm just south of the proposed pit. "What is going to happen with smell when they put 12 million gallons of manure in a pit 1,000 feet from my home... How can you not smell it?... When you agitate manure gasses and odors come out!" He said there also is a 10-acre wildlife area nearby, "and when this escapes, what's going to happen to the wildlife?" There are also three wells on his farm, "and if they get contaminated, that's an expense to me!"

Randy Larmay, who owns land kitty corner and across the road from fields where the manure will be spread was called on next.

He said B & D Farms bought 600 acres for crops and felt the land couldn't handle the manure from a pit that large. He said 12 million gallons, divided by 600 acres, means they will be spreading 20,000 gallons per acre, "and the land can't handle that much!" He also said manure hauling, at 6,000 gallons a load, will damage the down roads, and also will be making a mess. He declared there should be a limit on the number of animals one farm can have, and said with milk prices so low, there's no demand for it right now anyway. "I bet Kewaunee County wishes they had decided differently," he concluded.

Coady, speaking for GHD Services, Inc. and B & D Farm, said the pit can be built on the site with or without the variance, but placing it on the highest elevation would reduce the height of the berms. He added the higher berms do not cost much more than the lower ones. He explained B & D Farm had wanted to combine the two parcels it owns, but could not because Hillcrest Road is a dividing line. Their design keeps the pit set back 300 feet from the high water area.

Part of the reason for the pit is to prevent damage to town roads. Manure can be hauled in winter when the road base is frozen, and then be available in spring when it can be hosed to fields where it is needed, with no trucking involved at sensitive times.

He said just because the pit will hold 12 million gallons doesn't mean it will be full, nor does it mean that the manure will be spread all at one time. Spreading will be done during the growing season as needed.

Stellmacher commented 12 million gallons equals more than 2,000 semi loads of manure, which would have "quite an impact on town and county roads." She noted there are no cows on the Little River property, "so all the manure is imported from Marinette County." She suggested they should talk to the DNR about a rule against moving manure from one county to another.

Nichols too wanted to know why the manure is not being taken care of in Marinette County, where it is produced.

Dolata explained B&D Farm is a large operation, and he bought the property in Little River to raise feed for the cattle he has at his main operation in Marinette County. Dolata felt county lines were not a consideration. Using the manure will help the farm use less artificial fertilizer, Dolata said. There is no rule about moving manure from county to county, but there are rules on how heavily it can be spread, and where it can be put.

Sekela questioned lack of emergency barriers between the pit and the creek, and Dolata said the variance does require that, in addition to emergency pits on either side of the driveway big enough to contain the spillage in case a semi rolls over.

Bednarik asked if towns have a say in the pit location, and Dolata said they do not. He confirmed again that the pit can be built without the variance.

Sleeter noted in the past the DNR regulated the amount of manure that could be applied per acre, and Dolata said it still does. The owner has to follow a crop management plan filed with the Land Conservation Department.

Members of the LCC were asked to speak. Kroll and Allen said they all thought the hill wold be the best place for the pit.

Grady said he worked that land and is concerned about the water. He said the first thing the Lepiankas did when they moved in was cap the wells.

Dolata said nutrient management rules require no spreading within 300 feet of any well, but was unable to say why the wells were capped.

Wendt, who himself operates a dairy farm, asked if Oconto County ordinances say anything about satellite manure storage, and Dolata the rules are the same for any manure storage facility. Wendt said farm operations that include homes and buildings for cattle, equipment, etc., bring in a lot of tax revenue, but from this type of operation the county gets very little. "I believe Oconto County should quickly put together some restrictions," he declared. He said the manure from a big dairy facility "is a huge deal!" He reminded Dolata that last month their committee came in for money for some lake quality work, "and this is very contrary to that!"

Mick said from a legal perspective, "I don't know that because you live outside the county you cannot use land you own here like anybody else."

Augustine asked if all the farm permits are up to date, and Dolata said if they were not the DNR would not approve this application.

Kloes said on the day the committee visited the pit site he and others were waiting at the gate, but no one invited them to come up there. He said there are two dug wells on the B & D property that have not been capped yet, and predicted disaster if manure gets into the two dug wells on the property that have not been capped yet.

Vote then was called, with the 14 to 15 rejection of the committee's decision to grant the variance.

After the hearing, Dolata said his committee prefers manure spreading with hoses and knifing the materials into the ground. He said farmers can pump manure five miles with hoses, which eliminates need for a lot of heavy truck traffic


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
09-20-2017Obituaries
Arnold E. Witzke

09-20-2017Obituaries
Marion A. Walls

09-20-2017Obituaries
Susan Van Roy

09-20-2017Obituaries
Joseph E. Truitt

09-20-2017Obituaries
Duane O. Thompson

09-20-2017Obituaries
Lillie M. Rudolph

09-20-2017Obituaries
Victoria L. Reiswitz

09-20-2017Obituaries
Thomas C. Pichette

09-20-2017Obituaries
Donald C. Millbrook

09-20-2017Obituaries
Joyce R. Lund

09-20-2017Obituaries
Nancy Lee Looney

09-20-2017Obituaries
Stanley V. Kupczynski,

09-20-2017Obituaries
Lois L. Kostreva

09-20-2017Obituaries
Timm R. Jensen

09-20-2017Obituaries
David D. Jaeger

09-20-2017Obituaries
Mary J. Ihander

09-20-2017Obituaries
Timothy J. Hunter

09-20-2017Obituaries
Ronald G. Frease

09-20-2017Obituaries
Marvin J. Chamberlain

09-20-2017Obituaries
Darlene K. Bruette

09-20-2017Obituaries
Howard H. Schowalter

09-20-2017Obituaries
Donald E. Wolfe

09-20-2017Obituaries
Marvin C. Baake

09-20-2017Obituaries
Myrtle I. Pennington

09-20-2017Obituaries
Glenn G. Nelson Jr.

09-20-2017Obituaries
Diane C. Lotter

09-20-2017Obituaries
"Michael D. Lemieux

09-20-2017Obituaries
Don D. Hawkins

09-20-2017Obituaries
Roman A. Gipp

09-20-2017Obituaries
Violet T. Foat

09-20-2017Sports
Bulldogs Snag Silver at Antigo Soccer Invite

09-20-2017Sports
18th Annual Della Deau Memorial Golf Outing

09-20-2017Sports
Wolves Defeat Bulldogs in Straight Sets

09-20-2017Sports
Wolverines Unable to Repel Rebel Assault

09-20-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-20-2017Perspectives
From My Window

09-20-2017Perspectives
From our readers

09-20-2017Community - Wausaukee
Ranger Booster Club Tailgate Party Sept. 22

09-20-2017Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Clean Up Day Oct. 14-15

09-20-2017Community - Wausaukee
County To Collect Town Wagner Taxes

09-20-2017Community - Wausaukee
Town Wausaukee Winter Garbage Pickup in Effect

09-20-2017Community - Crivitz
Replace Flag at New Care Assisted Living

09-20-2017Community - Crivitz
Plan Trip to Our Lady Shrine Oct. 11

09-20-2017Community - Crivitz
Change School Board Meeting

09-20-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Implements New Program Called ACP

09-20-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Classes 1952-57 Plan Gathering for Oct. 4

09-20-2017Community - Coleman
Softball, Bean Bag Tourneys at Equity

09-20-2017Community - Coleman
Woman's Club View New Box for Books

09-20-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman Cougars Team Up to Tackle Cancer

09-20-2017Front Page
McGowan Speaks at POW/MIA Recognition

09-20-2017Front Page
Work on Marinette County Wage Study is Nearly Done

09-20-2017Front Page
No Action On Proposal For MCABI To Take On Tourism

09-20-2017Front Page
Twin County Airport License In Jeopardy

09-20-2017Front Page
Peshtigo Water & Sewer Weighs Sewer Rate Increase

09-13-2017Obituaries
Bertie Shafer

09-13-2017Obituaries
Harold E. Salzman

09-13-2017Obituaries
Otto "Butch" E. Risner, Jr.

09-13-2017Obituaries
Paul P. Pitroski

09-13-2017Obituaries
William R. Philipps

09-13-2017Obituaries
Steven L. Paugh

09-13-2017Obituaries
Charles R. Neff

09-13-2017Obituaries
Judith I. Mingle

09-13-2017Obituaries
Betty H. Miller

09-13-2017Obituaries
Eugenie E. Johnson

09-13-2017Obituaries
Bertil C. Johnson

09-13-2017Obituaries
Ashley R. Hash-Havelka

09-13-2017Obituaries
Kathleen L. Gilligan 

09-13-2017Obituaries
Roger E. Folkerts

09-13-2017Obituaries
Georgette Dedamos

09-13-2017Obituaries
Stephen J. Dausey

09-13-2017Obituaries
Marie I. Crocker

09-13-2017Obituaries
Alice J. Baker

09-13-2017Obituaries
Barbara D. Anderson

09-13-2017Obituaries
Thomas A. Walk

09-13-2017Obituaries
Brian Stewart

09-13-2017Obituaries
Suzanne Steffeck

09-13-2017Obituaries
Jane I. Prim

09-13-2017Obituaries
Shirley A. Pentony

09-13-2017Obituaries
Thomas M. Nowack

09-13-2017Obituaries
Marilyn D. Moreau

09-13-2017
Urban R. Meyer

09-13-2017Obituaries
Adalynn R. McDonald

09-13-2017Obituaries
Joyce A. Girczyc

09-13-2017Obituaries
(Janina) Joan Gauthier

09-13-2017Obituaries
Brian K. Friebel

09-13-2017Obituaries
Daniel R. Burschinger, MD

09-13-2017Obituaries
Douglas E. Augustine

09-13-2017Sports
Chenier's Medalist Round Leads Marines to Silver

09-13-2017Sports
Bulldog Boys Run to Shawano D2 Title

09-13-2017Sports
Wolverines Early Front Runners in M&O

09-13-2017Sports
Bulldogs "Pass" Cougars For Highway B Rivalry Win

09-13-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-13-2017Perspectives
From our readers

09-13-2017Perspectives
From My Window

09-13-2017Community - Wausaukee
Iron Mountain VA to Host POW/MIA

09-13-2017Community - Wausaukee
Raindancers to Meet Oct. 5th

09-13-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Sept. 25  

09-13-2017Community - Wausaukee
Meyer is Acting Unit Chaplain

09-13-2017Community - Crivitz
Marty Flom Benefit at Crivitz on Sept. 23

09-13-2017Community - Crivitz
Rally for Breast Cancer on Sept. 17

09-13-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Gun Show

09-13-2017Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Public Works to Replace Village Hall Lighting

09-13-2017Community - Coleman
North Country Kickers Western Style Dance

09-13-2017Community - Coleman
Lena Lions List Coming Projects

09-13-2017Community - Coleman
Lena School Board Reviews Two Water Erosion Solutions

09-13-2017Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board to Approve Budget

09-13-2017Front Page
Eklund Insurance Sold To Wagner-Casper Agency

09-13-2017Front Page
County Board May Consider Cutting Supervisor Positions

09-13-2017Front Page
Marinette POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 15

09-13-2017Front Page
MCABI Okays Lease For Medical Center

09-13-2017Front Page
Land Information Okays Conditional Use Permit

09-06-2017Obituaries
Jean F. Prestine

09-06-2017Obituaries
Edward Petrash

09-06-2017Obituaries
Virginia Padgett

09-06-2017Obituaries
Zina Miedziak

09-06-2017Obituaries
Charmaine K. Ehlen

09-06-2017Obituaries
Francis R. Daul   

09-06-2017Obituaries
Erva J. Wessel

09-06-2017Obituaries
Rose M. Weissgerber

09-06-2017Obituaries
Raymond H. Weigelt

09-06-2017Obituaries
Otto E. Risner, Jr.

09-06-2017Obituaries
Marlene Ponis

09-06-2017Obituaries
William R. Philipps

09-06-2017Obituaries
Gail M. Phillips

09-06-2017Obituaries
Joan F. Pfister

09-06-2017Obituaries
Thomas C. Nelson

09-06-2017Obituaries
Jerome P. Murphy 

09-06-2017Obituaries
Marie Laduron

09-06-2017Obituaries
Engleberth P. Heiden

09-06-2017Obituaries
James J. Harter

09-06-2017Obituaries
Robert Hammerberg

09-06-2017Obituaries
Dorothy L. Curtis

09-06-2017Obituaries
Violet Black

09-06-2017Obituaries
Ruth B. Schneider

09-06-2017Obituaries
Richard J. Pagel

09-06-2017Obituaries
Shirley J. Madon

09-06-2017Obituaries
Annette M. Jepson

09-06-2017Obituaries
Patricia Brethouwer

09-06-2017Sports
Area Runners Shine at Freedom Invitational

09-06-2017Sports
Bulldogs Serve Up Sweeps Over Marines and Maroons

09-06-2017Sports
Marinette & Menominee Claim Road Victories

09-06-2017Sports
Bulldogs Hold Off Clippers for First Win

09-06-2017Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-06-2017Perspectives
From My Window

09-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post 66 Plan Chili Fest

09-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Board Meeting Sept. 13

09-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive Sept. 25th

09-06-2017Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Board Awards MJB Bid

09-06-2017Community - Crivitz
Oktoberfest Returns to Downtown Iron Mtn.

09-06-2017Community - Crivitz
Youth Group Open House


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Should the Marinette County Board be reduced in size?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2017
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites