Big negative response toward chicken farms, email record shows

A review of emails citizens sent to Delta County commissioners found that those who opposed two chicken farms outnumbered those in support by a nearly 5-to-1 ratio.

Commissioners ultimately approved both applications from the Edwin Hostetler family in August 2011 and September 2012.

The Daily Sentinel filed a Colorado Open Records Act request asking for any and all emails sent by or to the three commissioners — current commissioners Bruce Hovde and Doug Atchley and now-former Commissioner Olen Lund — regarding the applications during those two months. The documents show opponents of the egg-laying facilities outranked supporters 54 to 11.

The board ultimately unanimously approved both farms.

Among the comments to commissioners in opposition during those months:

■ “You have the authority to protect the health, safety and welfare of your citizens by directing this application to a suitable and proper area of the county … ” — Reg and Diane Cridler

■ “It is hard to ignore the 300+ voters who signed petitions opposing the proposals.” — Jim Blankenship

■ “There are simply too many adverse effects for this development to proceed.” — Anne Sievers

■ “Putting 15,000 chickens in an enclosed area to produce eggs is not good land stewardship.” — Janice Edwards and William Aston, Crawford

■ “It would seem to me that the commissioners’ job is to resolve an issue of this nature in the best interests of all the people affected, not just the for the proponents of the proposal.” — Marley Duclo

■ “This is not about whether a such a commercial chicken operation is a positive thing for a family business or even whether this one will be run properly. The issue is whether the proposed location is appropriate, and it is not for many reasons.” — Caryn Braddy, Hotchkiss

■ “There are far better places to do this in Delta County.” — John and Mary Lou Gregory

■ “It is apparent that … you made a political decision that totally ignored the health and safety of your constituents. It is time now to place public health above all other concerns …” —Theo Colborn, Paonia

■ “I believe in the right to farm, but not at the expense of the health of nearby residents and the integrity of the local watershed.” — Jeff Crane, Hotchkiss

Some did offer their support the farms:

■ “Regardless of the opponents … Colorado is a right to farm state.” — Virginia Selby

■ “I believe this (is) a very viable agriculturally friendly operation to an agriculturally friendly community.” — Scott Ensley

■ “It would be good for Delta County and our economy for you to approve their plans for chicken farms.” — John Copper

■ “Thousands of people in Delta County run similar operations on a smaller scale … and nothing is said about them.” — Kimborlee Etter


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