AP NEWS

380,000-chicken facility proposed in Lancaster County

July 23, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A proposed poultry farm that could house up to 380,000 chickens already faces opposition as Lancaster County officials considers new regulations for large livestock operations.

Sunset Poultry LLC applied earlier this month for a special permit for eight barns housing up to 47,500 chickens each on 80 acres just south of the Saunders County line, about a mile and a half southwest of Ceresco.

The total of 380,000 birds would make it twice the size of the poultry operation that was approved in the southwest part of the county last year. The birds would go to the Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont that will process chickens for Costco.

Jory and Lori Heiss told the Lincoln Journal Star that the eight barns would be only 650 feet from their property line. They’re worried about a potential decline in value of their property and noted that the site is a little more than a mile from Raymond Central High School.

“The implications with regard to air and water quality, spread of disease and increased traffic alone can have serious consequences for our students,” Lori Heiss said.

Raymond Central Public Schools Superintendent Derrick Joel said traffic would be one of the biggest concerns he will raise in a weekly brief he sends to school board members.

“I just think there’s a few things we need to discuss as a school board,” Joel said.

The application for the poultry operation approved last year spurred officials to examine Lancaster County’s lack of specific zoning laws regarding large livestock operations. A task force’s draft released last month specifically defines large livestock operations and requires them to be at least a quarter-mile from occupied dwellings if they are enclosed or a half-mile if they are open.

Jessica Kolterman, a spokeswoman for Lincoln Premium Poultry, said the operation would meet the task force’s proposed changes.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com