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Demonstrators

The anti-chicken farm folks protest outside the County-City Building in September about Costco’s plans for an operation in Lancaster County.

Three opponents of a proposed poultry farm in southwest Lancaster County have notified the county they plan to appeal a decision to allow it.

E. Jane Egan, Janis Howlett and Ken Tesar filed a "notice of appeal" last week with the Lancaster County Clerk.

According to the notice, the three are seeking to appeal the decision in Lancaster County District Court, alleging the Lancaster County Board's approval of the poultry operation was "contrary to applicable state law and local regulations; and contrary to the facts and the evidence."

No other information was included in the notice, and neither the people appealing nor their attorney could be reached for comment.

The County Board on Sept. 11 voted 3-2 in favor of the operation, which would house 190,000 broiler chickens in four barns on 75 acres at 13350 W. Wittstruck Road, about a half-mile from the Saline County line near Crete.

Commissioners Roma Amundson, Todd Wiltgen and Jennifer Brinkman said at the time that the proposed chicken operation met all state and local regulations, although the board acknowledged the county has few regulations for what the zoning code refers to as commercial feedlots.

The board said it would look at strengthening its commercial feedlot regulations but had no legal basis to deny a permit to Randy Essink, who plans to raise broiler chickens on the land for the Costco processing plant under construction in Fremont.

The County Board's decision came despite strong opposition from people who live in the area, dozens of whom sent emails to the County Board and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission and then testified at one of several public hearings on the subject.

Opponents cited a number of potential concerns, including odor, water contamination and damage to area roads from trucks needed to transport the birds.

Officials from Lincoln Premium Poultry, a Costco subsidiary that is managing the processing plant and contracting with the individual producers, have said the plant will use modern technology that will eliminate odors and greatly reduce the chance of any water contamination.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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