WOOSTER, Ohio — A new egg production company will not be coming to Ohio after all, officials determined last week.
Hi-Q Egg Products, which had applied for a permit to install and operate a hen facility in Union County, was denied on the basis the application was not complete. The application was missing local documentation from the county to the state, concerning the company’s use of roadways and infrastructure improvements.
Union County Commissioner Charles Hall said commissioners couldn’t give the go-ahead to the state, becasue they did not have a full report from Hi-Q on how the facility would impact county and township roads.
“We couldn’t give them (the Ohio Department of Agriculture) something we didn’t have,” Hall said.
Agriculture Director James Zehringer denied the permit because of the missing information.
“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,” he said in a release.
According to Hi-Q’s website, the facility would have been a “food production and processing farm” situated on 473 acres. Fifteen hen houses were in the plans, and the organization estimates it would have created 75 jobs.
Hi-Q has been in an ongoing battle to locate to the state the past four years.
“Hi-Q made all the arguments it had to make about the state law and the administrative process,” said the company’s legal counsel, Kevin Braig. “It’s disappointing that the decision went the way it did when Hi-Q did everything it was required to do under the permit process.”
Tom Menke, an ag and environmental consultant, said local officials simply did not respond to the state. He’s in favor of an ongoing bill that would allow these facilities to move forward, even if local officials fail to file their own documentation.
“Obviously, the permit was denied because there was the deficiency in the law,” Menke said. “Local people took advantage of it. That is being fixed now.”
Hall insists commissioners made several reports back to the state about the permit, but could not approve the project because of ongoing uncertainties over how it would impact local roads.
“That’s the only thing we had any quesiton on with Hi-Q, whose gonna take care of the roads, whose gonna repair the roads,” Hall said. “The roads aren’t designed in that areaa for that kind of road traffic.”