The developers of a proposed Union County egg farm have asked for a public hearing to dispute the Ohio Department of Agriculture's intent to deny their permit requests.

The developers of a proposed Union County egg farm have asked for a public hearing to dispute the Ohio Department of Agriculture's intent to deny their permit requests.

ThisWeek obtained a copy of a certified letter sent by Kevin Braig, an attorney representing Hi-Q Egg Products, LLC, to the ODA, requesting a formal adjudication hearing. The letter is dated Sept. 20.

Last month, ODA director Robert J. Boggs sent a certified letter to the company (dated Aug. 25) stating the agency's intent to deny two permit requests filed by Hi-Q to construct a farm in northwestern Union County, citing the company's failure to furnish all the needed paperwork. Hi-Q had 30 days to present a response for a public hearing, according to the ODA's letter, or the requests would be denied without further discussion.

"Hi-Q appreciates the opportunity that the department is providing for Hi-Q to demonstrate that Hi-Q has fully complied with the department's permitting process and provided complete information to local government officials with respect to expected to use of roads and infrastructure that may result from the installation of the Hi-Q facility," Braig wrote in an e-mail message.

ODA public information officer Kaleigh Frazier said the department has received the request, and intends to schedule a hearing.

"The department will schedule a hearing at a time that is conducive to both parties' schedules," Frazier said. "There will be a hearing officer present, an independent attorney licensed to practice in Ohio with experience in these sort of hearings. The department will be represented by an assistant attorney general, while Hi-Q will be represented by its legal counsel."

Frazier said the proceedings will be an open hearing, with the officer enforcing appropriate formal decorum. ODA and Hi-Q are the only parties involved in the hearing; however, each is allowed to call appropriate witnesses.

Hi-Q proposes to construct 15 layer houses with 400,000 layers each, for a total capacity of 6-million chickens, according to the permit requests. The site is at 22450 Davis Road, West Mansfield, in York Township and the Upper Scioto Watershed. Hi-Q Egg Products, LLC is the owner of the property, with Jeffry Henning and Steven George, both of Johnston, Iowa, listed as LLC members.

Plans also call for three separate manure storage barns, a lagoon treatment system for the eggwash consisting of two treatment cells with a capacity of about 3,834,387 gallons each, along with a third storage cell with a capacity of about 15,563,940 gallons.

The ODA's Aug. 25 letter cites a lack of all necessary documents needed from the company and local municipalities. Those documents revolve around a needed transportation agreement between the farm developer, county commissioners and York Township trustees. It would detail who is responsible for infrastructure improvements before the farm would be built.

Several county roads in York Township surrounding the site would need to undergo improvements before a significant increase in commercial traffic begins, county engineer Jeff Stauch told ThisWeek. County commissioners have maintained that an agreement between the county and the farm's developers expressing how those improvements will be funded, and by whom, must be in place before the project can move forward.

ODA's original letter to Hi-Q outlining the department's position can be viewed at www. ThisWeekNews.com.