Section 900.405 Conduct of Informational Meeting


a) Within 15 business days after receipt of a county board's request to conduct an informational meeting, the Department shall appoint a hearing officer, in accordance with 8 Ill. Adm. Code 1.22(a), to conduct the informational meeting, and conduct an informational meeting on the proposed construction in the county where the proposed facility is to be located.


b) The hearing officer shall have the duty to conduct a fair informational meeting, take all necessary action to avoid delay, maintain order, and ensure the development of a clear, complete, and concise record. The hearing officer shall have all powers necessary to these ends, including but not limited to the authority to:


1) Require all participants to state their position with respect to the proposed facility;


2) Administer oaths and affirmations;


3) Regulate the course of the meeting, including but not limited to controlling the order of proceedings; and


4) Establish reasonable limits on the duration of the testimony and questioning of any witness and limit repetitious or cumulative testimony and questioning.


c) The hearing officer shall state at the beginning of the informational meeting the manner in which the meeting will be conducted, time limits for testifying, and any other procedures for conducting the meeting. Procedures and time limits may vary according to the number of people wishing to testify, the time the meeting starts, weather conditions, and other situations affecting the length of the meeting.


d) At the meeting, the Department shall afford members of the public an opportunity to ask questions and present oral or written comments concerning the proposed construction. [510 ILCS 77/12(a)] All persons presenting oral comments shall be sworn in and comments shall be in narrative form. All persons presenting oral comments shall be subject to questioning by any person.


e) Any person requesting time to make an oral comment at the informational meeting must register prior to the beginning of the meeting. Persons shall be called to testify in the order of registration, unless the hearing officer determines otherwise.


f) All written comments shall be:


1) Addressed to the Director or Hearing Officer, Illinois Department of Agriculture, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL 62794-9281, unless otherwise instructed by the hearing officer;


2) Legible with lines double spaced, except that long quotations may be single spaced, on white paper measuring 8 inches by 11 inches; and


3) Signed by the party filing the comment or by an officer, agent, or attorney thereof and shall contain the address of the party filing the comment, or, if the filing party is an attorney, the name and address of such attorney.


g) The owner or operator who submitted the notice of intent to construct to the Department shall appear at the informational meeting. [510 ILCS 77/12(a)] At the informational meetings, the owner or operator may supply in written form to the meeting attendees a summary of the response to each of the subjects set forth in subsection (h) of this Section.


h) At the informational meeting, the Department shall receive evidence by testimony or otherwise on the following subjects:


1) Whether registration and livestock waste management plan certification requirements, if required, are met by the notice of intent to construct;


2) Whether the design, location, or proposed operation will protect the environment by being consistent with the Livestock Management Facilities Act [510 ILCS 77];


3) Whether the location of the facility minimizes any incompatibility with the surrounding area's character by being located in any area zoned for agriculture where the county has zoning or, where the county is not zoned, the setback requirements established by the Livestock Management Facilities Act are complied with;


4) Whether the facility is located within a 100-year floodplain or an otherwise environmentally sensitive area (defined as an area of karst area or with aquifer material within 5 feet of the bottom of the livestock waste handling facility) and whether construction standards set forth in the notice of intent to construct are consistent with the goal of protecting the safety of the area;


5) Whether the owner or operator has submitted plans for operation that minimize the likelihood of any environmental damage to the surrounding area from spills, runoff, and leaching;


6) Whether odor control plans are reasonable and incorporate reasonable or innovative odor reduction technologies given the current state of such technologies;


7) Whether traffic patterns minimize the effect on existing traffic flows; and


8) Whether construction or modification of a new facility is consistent with existing community growth, tourism, recreation, or economic development or with specific projects involving community growth, tourism, recreation, or economic development that have been identified by government action for development or operation within one year through compliance with applicable zoning and setback requirements for populated areas as established by the Livestock Management Facilities Act. [510 ILCS 77/12(d)]


i) In the absence of a specific provision in this Subpart governing the conduct of the informational meeting, the Department's procedural rules or a particular provision of the Code of Civil Procedure may provide guidance to the Department or hearing officer.