Judge Deems Vote On Massive Hog Farm Invalid

One member of the Franklin County Board of Zoning Appeals should not have been allowed on the board when it decided on a conditional use permit for a 5,000-hog operation.

Photo author unknown, Wikipedia.

(Franklin County, Ind.) – A judge has ruled that a controversial vote by Franklin County’s Board of Zoning Appeals was invalid because one of the voting members should have never been allowed on the board.

The BZA voted 3-1 in March 2018 to allow a conditional use permit for a 102-acre site owned by Scott and Susan Cooper in Franklin County’s Fairfield Township. The Coopers, of Liberty, Indiana, needed the permit to allow them to establish a massive confined animal feeding operation, or CAFO, housing roughly 5,000 hogs. It would be located at Powell and Bath roads.

At least 13 neighbors opposed to the project soon filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the CAFO. In their suit, they contended that BZA member Jeff Batchler did not qualify to serve on the board because he is not a landowner, which is required by the BZA’s own membership requirements. Batchler had voted in favor of the CAFO conditional use.

On January 8, Fayette Superior Court Special Judge Paul Freed issued a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.

“Because all actions of the BZA must receive at least three votes in favor under Franklin Zoning Code § 80.12.01, and Jeff Batchler’s appointment to the BZA violated the Franklin County Zoning Ordinance due to his lack of property ownership in Franklin County, Conditional Use Permit CU-2-17-20681 was not } authorized by majority of the entire membership of the BZA and is therefore invalid for l this reason alone,” Freed’s stated in his five-page decision.

Without Batchler’s vote, the conditional use permit vote was only 2-1, a vote short of the required three in favor.

The lawsuit and ruling did not challenge the CAFO condition use permit on its own merits. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management had given its approvals of the Coopers’ planned operation in 2017.

According to IDEM, there were 11 other CAFOs operating in Franklin County as of mid-2017.


Franklin Co. Zone Change Paves Way For Massive Hog Farm

Report: Proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Near Brookville Lake Gets IDEM Approval

Public Hearing Tackles Factory Farms Change In Approach To Fighting Indiana Factory-Farm Pollution  

More from Local News


  • East Central High School Club Swim Team

    The East Central Aqua Trojans Swim Team is for all levels of kids ages 5-18 (must be able to swim unassisted one full length of the pool.) You will learn strokes, entries, turns, and improve your endurance as well as have the experience of competing as part of America's Swim Team. ECST is a USA Swimming Organization. What does that mean? It means that you are on the same team as 300,000 other swimmers nationwide. When Registering please bring a copy of your child's birth certificate.

    at East Central High School
  • Pound Class

    PoundFit with SamK ~ Cardio inspired by drumming! Burn calories, tone muscles and build strength all while moving to the beat of the music!! This 45 minute jam session will change your life!! All you need to bring is water, a yoga mat if you have one and $5! Every Wednesday 6pm at Heritage Hall and every Friday at 6:00 p.m. at Rising Sun Church of Christ (this location may sometimes change due to church functions).

    at Heritage Hall
  • Strengthening Families Program For Parents and Youth 10-14

    Strengthening Families focuses on family skills taught in group sessions to increase family strengths. The program builds on improving family relationships, parenting skills and improving youth's social and life skills.

    at Dearborn Adult Center

United Way Of Franklin Co. Accepting Live United Scholarship Applications

To be eligible, students must reside in Franklin County.

Patching Begins Monday On SR 1 In Dearborn County

Portions of State Road 1 will be repatched in a project which will last about two weeks.

Night Work Starts Monday On US 50 In Aurora, Lawrenceburg

INDOT says working at night should help alleviate heavy traffic problems on U.S. 50 in Aurora and Lawrenceburg.

Local Sports Report - April 17

South Dearborn baseball's Reese Willoughby and Jace Leonard shut out Greensburg Wednesday.

Rising Sun's Bush, Switz Co.'s Sparks Earn ORVC Weekly Honors

Other top performers for the week of April 8-13 are listed here.

Local Sports Report - April 16

Milan's Erin Widener hit a home run and pitched a complete game as the Indians softball team won Tuesday.

On Air

Jason Aldean They Don't Know 0:58
Travis Tritt Put Some Drive In Your Country 0:54
Chris Young Sober Saturday Night 0:50
Randy Houser What Whiskey Does 0:45