One down, one to go. After three long years, Rob Hilarides finally received approval from the Tulare County Planning Commission to build a 9,100-cow dairy and cheesemaking facility near Lindsay, Calif.

However, Hilarides still has another hurdle. His next step — armed with an environmental impact report and the planning commission’s blessing — is with the Board of Supervisors. The board could see Hilarides’ dairy permit come up on the calendar as early as Sept. 17.

Commissioner Shirley Kirkpatrick told the Tulare Advance-Register that she is supportive of the project and the thoroughness of the environmental documents, but she sees a point when Tulare County will have enough cows.

"At some point we will reach the carrying capacity for dairies in this county and the industry has to realize that," Kirkpatrick said. "Hopefully, we will have enough information at that time to know we have reached that."

The final decision came down to the fact that there are more positives than potential negative effects for this project.
However, opponents who live near the proposed dairy are disappointed with the decision and plan to appeal it to the Board of Supervisors. Despite a comprehensive environmental impact report, their concerns are with how the dairy will effect air quality and groundwater in the area.

Tulare Advance-Register