The Minnesota Court of Appeals has correctly denied the Daley Farm’s request for a variance. The Daleys want a variance to triple the size of their 1700-cow dairy near Lewiston. The court says the variance request instead needs to be decided at the local level by the Winona County Board of Adjustment.
But I’m wondering, given that the Daley Farm has already been out of the compliance on manure storage for its existing operation (let alone receiving in 2012 one of the largest labor law fines in Minnesota history), why should Winona County officials even take up its variance request? Fifteen years ago, I served on the Winona county Planning Commission for six years. The planning and zoning rules prohibited new zoning applications from people whose operations were not already in compliance. I believe that the Daley Farm needs to conform to existing rules before asking for more privileges.
I am frustrated with operations like the Daley Farm getting so much in the way of public assistance and taxpayer subsidies. Why don’t we just get rid of these subsidies and stop spending local, state and federal taxpayer dollars helping factory farms expand?
I am also getting sick and tired of hearing the Daley Farm argument that three Winona County Board members are biased against them. Don’t tell me that County Board members and Daley supporters Marcia Ward and Steve Jacob aren’t biased. Of course they are. People who are willing to serve in public office and on county committees have strong opinions and they want their voice to be heard.