Bill to close a permitting loophole

By Matt Reese

Ohio Rep. Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) recently introduced a bill (229) to close a loophole used by local governments to block the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) permitting process for a poultry facility.

“We recently denied a permit for the Hi-Q egg facility permit. The current law says there has to be a meeting between the local government jurisdiction, township or county, and the company to discuss issues like traffic and roadways,” said Rocky Black, ODA deputy director. “In this case, the township refused to send the letter back to the company after that meeting. Effectively, they pocket vetoed the facility.”

The inaction from the township forced the State to deny the permit.

“Following a thorough review of the hearing officer’s report and recommendations regarding the Hi-Q permits, I’ve concluded that the Department of Agriculture has no other viable option but to deny the West Mansfield permits due to an incomplete application,” said Jim Zehringer, ODA Director.

The bill addresses the problem by providing a mechanism that will allow the process to move forward if similar situations arise in the future.

“There are also technical name changes in the bill and 229 cleans up the legislation so that is emphasizes the issue of safety and regulation within the ODA,” Black said. “It has been introduced in the House and it will go forward from there.”

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