Farmers suing over poultry regs

SOUTH CAROLINA - As forewarned, opponents of Orangeburg County Council’s controversial moratorium on poultry house operations have sued the county, saying its new poultry house rules violate state law.

The plaintiffs, including several Orangeburg County chicken farmers and corporations, are asking that the moratorium be voided, that a permanent injunction invalidating the ordinance be granted and that all litigation costs be paid.

Council voted 5-2 for the moratorium ordinance on Sept. 19, after several contentious public hearings and an outpouring of angry criticism from the local agricultural community.

The ordinance requires new poultry houses to be built at least 1,875 feet from neighboring residences, although they can be closer if neighboring homeowners give permission. State regulations requiring poultry houses to be 1,000 feet from neighbors would still apply.

The moratorium is considered a temporary measure until a countywide zoning ordinance is enacted.

According to the complaint filed in Circuit Court last week, the moratorium is a land-use regulation passed in the absence of a properly adopted comprehensive land-use plan and without a zoning ordinance; it “unlawfully delegates” council powers under state law to the individual property owners who would have the authority to allow or disallow nearby poultry houses; and it’s a violation of the state’s Right to Farm Act.

Source: The Times and Democrat
calendar icon 24 November 2005
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