Saratoga zoning ordinance is postponed - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Saratoga zoning ordinance is postponed


Leaders in the Wood County Township of Saratoga have postponed a decision surrounding a controversial farm set to be built on thousands of acres in Saratoga.

At a packed meeting Thursday, people there were gathered to voice their opinions. Several angrily asked questions.

"What does it do for us?"

"How does deforestation of 6 to 8 thousand acres fit into rural preservation?"

"What's the town's perspective on that?"

Residents are concerned about how the potential large animal farm would affect the environment and their property values.

"If it affects our water quality or the amount of water in our lakes this is going to devastate me financially I'll lose a ton of money on a property that I've worked hard for. It's been my dream," said Rome Resident Don Ystad.  

The controversy started in June, when the Wysocki Family of Companies proposed buying land near the border of Wood and Adams Counties to build an 8000 acre farm. The company calls it a dairy but the Saratoga Township Board says it's what the Environmental Protection Agency deems a "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation," a dairy production process where animals are raised in more confined situations.

"We put a moratorium on holding the building of any buildings that is not in or follows our comprehensive plan and the CAFO doesn't follow our comprehensive plan as of right now," said Town Board Chairman Terry Rickaby.

The board was slated to vote on changing those zoning rules but that vote was postponed.

"I'm a little disappointed I think they need to do the right thing legally and I'm sure they're getting very good legal advice," said Ystad.

An attorney for the company was also at the meeting. He read a short statement saying it's illegal for Saratoga to discriminate against the farm. "This simply further targeted unlawful attempt by the town to interfere with our clients infested rights to develop dairy in the town," said the attorney.

Earlier this month the Wysocki Family of Companies announced that it is suing the town and its board members for trying to keep the farm from being built. The argument is far from over but many say they'll continue to fight to keep this farm out of their backyard.

Town board officials plan to meet sometime next week to make a decision on the zoning ordinance.

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