Amish building permit disagreement lands in court

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PRESTON, Minn. (AP) -- An Amish family is fighting misdemeanor charges for failing to comply with Fillmore County building codes.

Ammon Swartzentruber appeared in Fillmore County District Court Wednesday to contest the charges which were filed after his family started construction on a new home in Harmony. Swartzentruber says he did not apply for a building permit because it requires property owners to build a septic system. And that would be considered a modern day convenience and against their religious beliefs.

Swartzentruber says he has able to obtain building permits in the past because a new sewage treatment ordinance passed by the county in December wasn't including in the permitting process.

A judge in Wisconsin's Eau Claire County recently ruled that Amish families must obtain building and sanitary permits or risk being removed from their residences.

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