Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Darling is back!

May 5, 2015
Brighton, Iowa

To the Editor:

Darling is back! Lake Darling State Park near Brighton, Iowa. Many years of renovation, millions in tax dollars and tens of thousands in donations. Everything is new, the campground, lodge, picnic shelters, and roads, clear clean water and currently under construction six cabins available year-round. After years of lost tourism in the Brighton area and surrounding communities, things are looking up.                              
But what will the future hold? A farm recently sold that lies to the southwest of the State Park. Honey Creek runs through that farm and drains directly into Lake Darling. The landowners are planning to build hog confinement buildings on this property. A southwest wind would bring ammonia and hydrogen sulfide into the area of the Lake Darling campground, cabins and recreational area. Anyone with respiratory problems will be affected; others will find the odor unpleasant and not what they expected for an outing at this great state park.
In the past, Washington County was zoned to protect public recreation areas. County zoning was repealed and this protection no longer exists. Washington County is one of 11 counties in the state that do not use the Master Matrix (found on the Iowa DNR Web site). The master matrix is an evaluation tool to assist county supervisors in determining what effect buildings may have on air, water quality and on the community. Washington County has no zoning and doesn’t use the master matrix; landowners are free to do as they please with no regard for the environment or nearby communities and neighbors.
If this is allowed, it will be a legacy passed on to future generations because of greed and self-centeredness by landowners, voters and leaders of our counties and state. Wouldn’t it be great to see an inn, golf course or housing development on this property instead of a hog confinement building next to Lake Darling?
Now is the time for people in the community who agree to make their voices heard. When is enough, ENOUGH?

A Friend of Lake Darling,
Lyle Stacy