Development Review


Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Working Group


Intent and Purpose

In September 2018, the Lancaster Board of Commissioners voted to establish a Working Group to review Lancaster County current zoning regulations regarding CAFOs. Commercial feedlots, also known as CAFOs, is a use allowed by special permit in the AG Agriculture District. Currently, the zoning regulation has only one condition for the special permit: a statement from the Department of Environmental Quality regarding whether the facility needs to provide anti-pollution controls. This does allow for flexibility in requiring additional conditions if needed by the County Board on a case by case basis. This has led to uncertainty and debate on what conditions should be required.

The Working Group will assist staff in identifying issues and developing standards.

The Working Group will:

  • Review and provide information;
  • Provide comment, insight and suggestions;
  • Assist in the process;
  • Assist in identifying challenges;
  • Review zoning regulations in other counties;
  • Review roles of State agencies pertaining to CAFOs;
  • Make recommendations for conditions pertaining to the special permit.

Meeting Information

The Planning Department met with the County Board of Commissioners (Board) on October 17th to brief the Board on the conditions proposed by the Working Group. Those conditions are shown below in document titled Working Group Final Recommendation. The Planning Department also presented a Discussion Draft, (titled CAFO Discussion Draft Oct 17th), that offered three alternatives in the conditions regarding the Construction and Operating Permit and setbacks. In addition several maps were presented that details the impact of both open and enclosed AFO’s with the proposed setbacks.

In addition a draft siting matrix was presented. The siting matrix was developed by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and provides valuable information concerning animal feeding operations. Submitting the siting matrix, but with the scoring information removed, is part of the special permit is one of the proposed conditions.

There are several maps below that show the impact of the proposed conditions for setbacks. The CAFO Combined One Mile shows a one mile setback to dwellings as well as a one setback to other public uses. This is the setback proposed by the Working Group for a medium size open Animal Feeding Operation (AFO). The white areas show the location where an AFO could be located. There are only 2 sites in the northeast part of the county where an AFO could be located.

The CAFO Residential Areas One Mile map shows a one mile setback to dwellings. The CAFO Residential Areas Half Mile show a half mile setback to dwellings. The half mile setback is proposed by the Working Group for enclosed feeding operations.

The CAFO Combined Quarter Mile shows a quarter mile setback to dwellings and public uses. A quarter mile setback has been used on two previous applications for commercial feedlots that were approved. It is the setback in the Discussion Draft.

The CAFO Combined Map shows a half-mile setback for dwellings and one and one and half mile setback for public uses. The one mile setback would be for medium size feedlots and the one and half mile setback would be for large feedlots. The one mile and one and half mile setback would be required for both open and enclosed feedlots as proposed by the CAFO Working Group.

The final two maps show the impact of the proposed conditions on the Bevans feedlots that was previously approved. Under the Working Groups proposed conditions this commercial feedlot would not have been allowed.

The Board decided to consider the information and discuss it further sometime after November 7th. A specific date has not been set.

County Board Briefing

March 13, 2019

12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 214, County-City Building

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information

March 27, 2019

12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 214, County-City Building

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information

April 10, 2019

12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 210, County-City Building

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information

May 8, 2019

12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 214, County-City Building

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information

May 22, 2019

12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 214, County-City Building

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information

June 27, 2019

5:30-7:00 p.m., Scott Middle School, 2200 Pine Lake Road

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information

July 11, 2019

12:00-1:30 p.m., Room 214, City - County Building, 555 S. 10th Street

Meeting Discussion Topics and Information