LIGONIER — An unusually high water table may affect whether a new hog barn gets an OK for a property east of Ligonier.

On Wednesday, the Noble County Plan Commission will take up for a second time a request for a rezoning that would make way for a hog confined feeding operation.

In December, the commission tabled any decision on a request from Kevin Troyer to rezone his property on C.R. 775N west of C.R. 600W to A3, which would allow him to put in a hog barn. About a dozen area residents attended the meeting to raise concerns about the project.

The area has a mixed history with confined feeding. In the past, the commission gave an unfavorable recommendation to a hog barn proposed in the area on C.R. 600W between U.S. 6, a railroad and the Elkhart River, and the project was ultimately rejected by the Noble County Commissioners.

Plan Director Kenneth Hughes said Troyer’s request was delayed in order to get soil samples due to concerns about a high water table in the area, which could affect not only construction but also raises environmental concerns from the animal agriculture.

“They brought up concerns at the last meeting about the water table,” Hughes said. “Some neighbors have said their yard is constantly wet because the water table is so high. They couldn’t build basements when they built their homes.”

Neighbors also raised typical concerns that come with new confined feeding such as noise and odor, Hughes said.

On Hughes’ recommendation, the zoning change was delayed in order to get soil samples to get a better idea of where the water was, since the height of underground water can vary significantly even within a few hundred feet.

Hughes said the results of those borings showed that differential. On the west side of the property, the water was down 8 feet, while it was only 22 inches underground on the east end of the property.

That being said, Hughes said he thinks there is space on the 50-acre lot to fit a barn and not cause any significant issue.

“He meets the setbacks, even since the last meeting they’ve pushed it further back from the road,” Hughes said. “At this point, my recommendation is for a favorable recommendation to the commissioners.”

The plan director’s recommendation is only his suggestions, however, and the matter will be up to the plan commission members, who can agree or disagree. Whatever they decide, the zoning change will ultimately go before the county commissioners for final approval.

A positive recommendation from the plan commission often, but not always, leads to approval with the commissioners.

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