Proposed Hog Facility Near Austin Creating Controversy

Posted at: 02/11/2013 10:48 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- A proposed hog facility is causing controversy in Udolpho Township near Austin.

A group of residents there say a proposed hog-buying facility would bring nothing but disease and pollution to the area.

For now the field near the junction of Highway 251 and Highway 218 sits vacant, but soon it could be home to a new facility capable of housing around 12-hundred hogs.

But what some are calling a business venture, others are calling a dumping ground.

“It's a toxic environment that they're going to be creating,” said Lanita Smith, who lives less than a mile from the building site.

Smith and more than a dozen others living near the proposed building site believe the project would cause unwanted environmental pollution, devalue surrounding properties, and lower the overall quality of life in the area.

“They just don't belong in this residential community,” Smith said. “They need to find another place to locate that will be less harmful to human beings, mankind, animals, wildlife, everything."

Project opponents also say township officials still could not provide them with critical information as the township’s governing board prepares to vote Tuesday night on whether or not to allow the project.

The property owner behind the project declined to be interviewed, but he did say the plan has met all county and township regulations, calling it an economic opportunity for the area.

Still, residents say the project is moving forward with little regard for the 17 families living in the immediate area.

“We're objecting profusely to the lack of sensitivity of the people who are involved in this project,” Smith said.

The facility was originally intended to be a feedlot, but when plans for that project fell through, developers switched to the hog-buying facility.

The change would mean more traffic on nearby roadways and a much higher volume of hogs moving through the facility.