WAHOO – With five votes for and two against, the Saunders County Board of Supervisors approved a 12-barn chicken operation near Morse Bluff.

Bruce and Amy Williams applied for a conditional use permit to build a large poultry confined animal feeding operation in Morse Bluff Township.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Dave Lutton listed a number of conditions for the permit that became part of the motion to approve the conditional use permit.

Lutton’s conditions included applying for permits from the Nebraska Department of Energy and Environment, comply with the drainage plan submitted, create a vegetation barrier with conifers and fast-growing trees like poplars, work with the Morse Bluff Volunteer Fire Department to make sure there is access to water on the property, place the compost barns on the north side of the building, use methods to control litter odor, comply with all county, state and national regulations and submit to an annual review.

Lutton also added a condition that the Williams pay the local township $2,500 prior to construction, to be used for future upkeep of the roads.

Supervisor Scott Sukstorf, in whose district the chicken farm will be located, said he’d like to see Williams reduce the number of barns to four or six. County Attorney Joseph Dobesh said the supervisors had to vote on the permit as is, and could not request a reduction in the number of barns.

“It is my position that that would fundamentally alter the permit,” he said.

Williams agreed to the conditions and reiterated that he needed 12 barns to complete the plan he had to create enough fertilizer for his crops and to provide a family business his children could take over someday.

Supervisor Larry Mach made the motion to approve the conditional use permit, and Ed Rastovski seconded the motion. Mach, Rastovski, Lutton, Doris Karloff and Craig Bruenig voted for the conditional use permit. Sukstorf and Frank Albrecht voted against.

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