In 2011, Edwin Hostetler, Eileen Hostetler, Greg Hostetler, Carmen Hostetler, Anna Hostetler, and Roland Hostetler sought two development agreements to conduct poultry operations on their private property on Redlands Mesa (40 acres) and on Powell Mesa (96 acres). Delta County’s Board of County Commissioners received public comments and, after the Hostetlers agreed to 15 mitigating conditions, orally approved the operations in August of 2011. In September of 2011, residents opposed to the poultry operations filed suit against the Board and Hostetlers. In October of 2011, the Board approved two Resolutions authorizing the operations. In March of 2012, the district court ruled the Hostetlers’ operations could begin.
In July of 2012, the district court remanded the lawsuit to the Board to consider additional evidence, including whether the operations complied with the Delta County Master Plan. In October of 2012, after commissioning an air quality report and addressing the issues identified by the district court, the Board re-approved the Hostetlers’ operations. In November of 2012, the opponents once again filed suit.
In February of 2013, the district court remanded the suit to the Board. In May of 2013, after gathering more evidence on air quality, the Board re-approved the operations. In September of 2013, the court ruled, “based on the evidence of adverse health impacts in the surrounding area,” the farming proposal “is incompatible with the neighborhood.”
On October 14, 2013, the Hostetlers appealed. On February 18, 2014, the Hostetlers and the Board filed their opening briefs.
On February 21, 2014, the Colorado Farm Bureau, on behalf of its 24,000 members, sought to file a friend of the court brief to urge the Colorado Court of Appeals to overturn the September 2013 ruling barring agricultural use of the Hostetlers’ farm in rural Delta County arguing that the lower court’s ruling sets a dangerous legal precedent allowing a complaining person to shut down agricultural operation without proof that the operation is run negligently or will damage neighboring property. On March 3, 2014, the Court of Appeals accepted the brief.
On September 23, 2014, oral arguments were held. On October 16, 2014, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the district court. On October 30, 2014, the complainants’ filed a petition for rehearing with the panel, which was denied on February 12, 2015.