Richland County Commissioners voted on two subdivision requests this past week, one of which drew a large contingency of residents who opposed a plan to place a sewage lagoon on the property.

Jake and Shannon Lunderby had applied for two minor subdivision changes for property they own. The first request was for Parcel 27-5.5, Section 4; Township 22N; Range 59E in Richland County. The property is located on the west side of County Road 351 about .4 miles southeast of 14th Street and Sidney city limits. The lot is a vacant 7.81 acre parcel with an agricultural covenant and restrictions listed in COS 27-525. The request would divide the property into two lots- C1 would be 4.269 acres and C2 would be 3.544 acres. Both lots are proposed for single-family purposes and future land use map.

According to Joel Nelson, the proposal and conditions were standard for a Minor First Subdivision for single-family residential use. Nelson said the proposal also complied with Sidney’s City Growth Policy.

There was very little public comment on this proposal.

This request received preliminary approval from the commissioners on a 2-0 vote.

The second Minor First Subdivision request for Tract 127 in Section 3; Township 22N; Range 59E of Richland County. The subdivision is located on the East side of the road at 12314 County Road 351 about .75 miles South of Sidney. The lot is a 59.39 acre parcel that currently contains Lunderby Trucking business, Eastern Montana Meats, a commercial feed lot and related uses. The subdivision would create two lot, one two acre lot and a second lot of 57 acre lot.

Lot two’s wastewater disposal would be served by a “public” waste water system on adjacent property to the southwest, which is the issue most of the packed room was there to voice their disapproval for.

Nelson noted that the request included multiple uses on the property which may impact the review criteria. He also noted that not all impacts were from the subdivision request itself and that all discussion and decisions should be viewed in relation to the request to subdivide the lots and not necessarily the applicable future uses.

Like the first request, Nelson said most of the conditions were standard with this type of request.

After a review of the conditions and fact finding, the meeting was open for public comment.

Travis West then explained how the wastewater lagoon system would work, stating the fluid placed in the lagoon would not be what those who were against the project feared.

Other than the engineering firm’s statements on the proposed sewage lagoon, all of those making comments asked commissioners not to approve the request. Public comment continued until well after 5 p.m. and a decision was delayed until Tuesday morning.

Commissioners did not approve this request but asked that it be resubmitted with the updated information required by the DEQ concerning the wastewater lagoon. Once the request has been modified, it will be placed on the commissioners calendar starting at the point of a sufficiency review, according to Nelson. A notice will be placed in the Sidney Herald announcing the date and time.

Commissioners received numerous comments, both written and oral as well as photos and a videos.

Some of the written complaints included:

Kay Crosby: I am very against allowing East Montana Meats to subdivide their property for the purpose of installing a blood lagoon and sprinkler system to spray blood.

Brian Holst: Lunderby is applying for the right to build a blood pit in our community. I’m worried this pit will create health and environmental hazzards. Will my neighbors be able to raise their children in a safe way without contamination of our water supply?

Chrstie and Dean Steinley: We do not wish to have a blood lagoon and sprinkler system installed on the property to dispose of the blood so it can be dispersed on their fields. We do not want the smell, the flies and everything else that goes with it.

Ryan Karren: I believe this operation can be a benefit to our community as long as it is managed properly. Lunderby feed lots often have large burn pits going and we live directly downwind of them. The smoke is overpowering at times and it is not wood smoke. It is a chemical, petroleum type smell. If they are given a burn permit with no supervision nd disregard for those around them when they are burning the same attitude might persist with the lagoon management. I wish the best of luck in their development and hope it works well for them. I ask for consideration of your neighbors, their water, and their air quality.

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