Newport Road residents fight development with hog farm - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Newport Road residents fight development with hog farm

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Neighbors in rural Johnson County are pushing back against a proposed residential development.

Thursday the Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved a change of land use.  The move allows developers to build a cluster of homes on this 90 acre plot of land on Newport Road just north of Iowa City.

Neighbors are fighting back with more farming - threatening to build a hog operation across the street from the proposed development.

"During August and after a rain, you probably don't want to be too close to a hog operation," said Jim Glasgow, heading a group forming Newport Hog Cooperative LLC.

Glasgow is trying to help a friend.

Farmers like Jim Sedlacek living on Newport Road are fighting what they call urban sprawl.

"I wake up in the middle of night, and I can't imagine having what would be all these people out here," said Sedlacek.

The Board of Supervisors recently paved the way for a potential 70-house subdivision across the street from Sedlacek.

"There's a small area left where we're in transition, where we're encouraging some residential development," said Terrence Neuzil, Johnson County Supervisor. 

The area fits criteria for the supervisor's land use plan in which the county is trying to encourage growth.

"The transition is the one we're struggling with, between those who want to farm and those who live out in the country," said Neuzil.

Glasgow and a group of neighbors say they have no other way to fight the development than making a point, starting a hog operation on Sedlacek's farm across from the proposed development.

The group says this is no bluff.

"We're going to bring some hogs up here so people understand this is an agricultural area, and if that's what they like, and they want to live in something like that, they've got to get used to the smell and understand there's going to be noise," said Glasgow.

People living here say the area isn't equipped to take on the additional people that come with the subdivision.

Sedlacek says it's about protecting farmland and keeping a good balance between urban development and agriculture.

"Were kind of lucky in the state of Iowa to have a lot of good land and you take that away, how are you going to put it back," said Sedlacek.

Fighting development with a development of their own.

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