The Wisconsin Supreme Court has overruled an appeals court and granted the owners of a proposed dairy operation in the Central Wisconsin town of Saratoga the right to use over 6300 acres of land despite a town zoning ordinance
The case of Golden Sands Dairy LLC vs the Town of Saratoga was announced Tuesday morning. At stake was whether the Wysocki family can expand their operation to cover 6,388 acres, allowing for over 5 thousand head of cattle and supporting crops.
The two sides have been at odds over the expansion for the better part of five years. A previous Appeals Court ruling in 2014 determined that the family was legal in obtaining a permit for seven buildings on the land.
Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Shirley Abrahamson both dissented. Abrahamson wrote that decision creates uncertainty in the building permit process.
The current issue was with the acres outside the area where the buildings will be constructed. At the time of the application that land was zoned as unrestricted, meaning it could be used for any lawful purpose. The town re-zoned that land shortly after the initial permit application was submitted in a way that prohibited Golden Sands’ planned agricultural use. The issue has been tied up in the court system ever since.
Town officials have stated that it’s not possible for an expanded Golden Sands Dairy to keep its pollution levels down, saying in November of 2016 that the area’s drinking water was already showing an unhealthy level of nitrates.
The Wysocki family says it still plans to work with the Town to alleviate their concerns.