Friday, Aug. 15


Country homes rezoning is hot topic
for Logan County Board    
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[AUG. 15, 2003]  The proposed rezoning of country homes in rural Logan County brought hog farmers and real estate owners out for the Thursday evening Logan County Board meeting. While this meeting is set primarily to discuss the issues and establish where each board member stands, the actual vote will be Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend the board meeting, which takes place at the Logan County Courthouse.

At this time, country homes properties are zoned in five-acre increments. John Stewart stated that if this zoning were reduced to one-acre lots, "manure complaints will increase."

"Other adjacent rural counties require up to 30 acres per country home lot. Five (acres) should be the minimum," he said.

Kyle Alexander, a local hog farmer near Primm Road, is concerned that new homeowners will attempt to sue him and surrounding hog farmers for concerns about hog waste odor, insects and sanitation.

After the meeting, Alexander explained that his farm uses state-of-the-art procedures to minimize health issues related to waste disposal. "After we scrape and wash down the hog building, the waste shoots down into the lagoon," he said. The agitation of this waste breakdown increases the odor.

"The problem is, if country homes are too close, people are going to start complaining, and lawsuits will be filed," he said.

Alexander's farm is adjacent to properties owned by Ed Metters. Metters stated that he was not previously aware of the five-acre rule and requested that it be changed.

Zoning chair David Hepler asked for evidence of hog farms being put out of business by residential complaints. Board member Charles Ruben was unable to cite specific cases but stated that "this is a tremendous issue."

"Several hog farms have been sued out of existence because of these continuous complaints," he said.

Another concern for hog farmers is that one-acre zoning could limit their ability to expand their hog farms on their own land. Currently, a distance of 140 feet is the minimum allowed between adjacent property and the "honey wagon" waste disposal. Alexander stated that he could not possibly expand with country home neighbors so close.

The Logan County Board seems to be split on this issue. A straw vote will take place on Aug. 19.

Other issues to be voted on at next week's board meeting include the Transportation Improvement Proposal for an overlain runway at Logan County Airport. Airport committee chair Robert Farmer stated that the original bid for the project was $259,000, but the actual projected expense will be $334,000. Charles Ruben noted that since the bid is over budget, a two-thirds vote will be necessary on Tuesday for approval.

Committee chairman Pat O'Neill stated that Logan County Animal Control is currently having an aluminum can drive to raise funds for the shelter. Cans will be collected and stored at the local animal shelter. A raffle is also scheduled for Sept. 6.

Richard Logan reported that electric repairs for the courthouse basement are complete, but he mentioned concerns about the repairs needed for the dome. An architect is assessing the leakage.

Tuesday's vote will include the proposal for changing courthouse phone services from Ushman to Verizon. The cost will be $2,654, with a 5 percent increase each year of the three-year contract. Logan reports that Verizon's services at the Logan County Safety Complex have been satisfactory.

Logan, chair of the building committee, stated that WMAY radio has requested to broadcast from the courthouse lawn during the celebration of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial.


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Paul Gleason, chair of Community Action committee, stated that he is "concerned about the revamping of the new Head Start bill." His fear is that the monies will be disbursed to other, nonpublic institutions, rather than to the Head Start program. While Gleason reported that state Rep. Ray LaHood said he felt Head Start is working, LaHood voted against keeping it as it is.

Gleason also proposed that individual board members donate $10.96 toward the purchase of box fans. He stated that board chair Dale Voyles had already done so.

Gleason, who is also chair for the tourism committee, stated that the committee has been "swamped in preparation for the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration." He would like to include more photos of historic sites in the current displays. Gleason feels that response to the new tourism brochures has been positive.

Gleason also plugged the Underground Railroad exhibit at Lincoln College. The display will open Aug. 16 and be open to the public through Sept. 6. A dedication ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday at the old Union Cemetery. The tombstone of an Underground Railroad conductor will be dedicated. Other features of the exhibit will include authentic documents and an actual slave ball and chain.

Terry Werth noted that the Postville well will be dedicated on Aug. 25. A sesquicentennial commemorative book is currently being published and will be available for purchase on Aug. 25 also.

John Stewart noted that the closing for the Habitat for Humanity house that was purchased by the county will be Aug. 21 at 9 a.m. at the ReMax office in Lincoln. The house is located at 1409 N. Kankakee.

An annual "Family Day" was proposed by Dave Hepler for Sept. 22. This local holiday would encourage families to sit down to dinner together and get to know each other again. The proposal is for this day to be observed on the fourth Monday of each September. Vote will take place Aug. 19.

Mark Hilliard, newly appointed director of the Logan County Health Department, reported that the department has been busy with immunization clinics in preparation for school. Several clinics have been in the evenings to accommodate working families.

Law enforcement chair Dick Logan reported that the new jail doors are in place and that the jail just received a new paint job. The labor was done by the inmates to minimize cost.

The road and bridge committee, chaired by Terry Werth, will propose a vote to accept a low bid in the Sheridan Township area. The cost is estimated at $118,792.

Werth also proposed a jurisdictional transfer for County Highway 7, located northeast of Latham. He stated that the 1.97 mile roadway should be given to Liana Township in Macon County to be maintained.

Another hot topic was the ongoing dispute over a drainage ditch cleanup bill of $6,600 in the Airport Road area. Dick Logan stated that the bill is the road commissioner's responsibility, not the county's. Tom Hickman for the safety committee stated that this is not just a township road ditch but is a major drainage system for the Logan County Airport. Hickman and Terry Werth will discuss this issue further with the property owner, Mr. Hall, before proposing a resolution vote on the topic.

[Patricia Rankin]


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