CAFO debate in need of some common sense

From the 1950s to 1986, the city of Greenfield had a two-mile buffer zone around city limits. All development inside this zone was approved by the Greenfield City Planning board.

In 1986, this buffer zone was taken away from the city.

The city and county then adopted the comprehensive planning concept. This gave the county control of all zoning outside Greenfield city limits.

The 2006 Greenfield Comprehensive plan expands city limits in all directions, as it must to be able to plan out 30 years in advance.

This plan goes to County Road 300S. If growth takes place as expected, County Road 300S will be the south city limits in 20 more years.

Present city limits include part of County Road 200S (Weber Road).

Studies by Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, Northwestern Iowa State University and the PEW Commission have shown appraised devaluation of homes within three miles of a CAFO or CFO to be: 20-plus percent for one mile, 10.5-plus percent for two miles and 4-plus percent for three miles.

However, if these homes are downwind, the loss in appraised value is much greater because of the loss of quality of life by odors and flies.

The loss is also greater if the homes are located within city limits.

The prevailing winds come from the southwest 79.4 percent of the time.

The latest CAFO permit request came from a location that would have put more than 1,200 homes within less than two miles and most of them in the line of prevailing winds.

Some of these homeowners have been in their homes for almost 50 years, myself included.

We were here well before industrial agriculture was an issue.

Mount Comfort, New Palestine and Cumberland recently have annexed large amounts of county acreage to have control around their cities and to prevent this very thing from happening to their citizens.

We, the people requesting better zoning, are not PETA. We are not farm-haters.

We feel there is a need for industrial farming.

But we also feel there is a need for industrial farming to become less toxic and for nonfarming citizens to have protections, too.

Clearly the county commissioners, the county planning commission and the Greenfield planning board need to work together to find the best solutions for the large number of property owners and residents affected by any decision such as zoning.

We don’t feel the state should intervene.

Annexation is probably not the answer. But a little common sense is.

Winston Hammons