County Commission Hears Concerns Due To Proposed Rezoning For Slaughterhouse In Strawberry Plains

Photographer: Jeff Depew

Jefferson County Commissioners will be faced with the decision to approve or deny a request to rezone property located off of Highway 11E (near Eslinger Road) Strawberry Plains from A-1( agriculture/forestry) to I-2 ( Environmental/ Industrial) to accommodate a proposed slaughter house and retail store. Ten citizens from the area, some with direct impact and some with lesser impact, spoke against the proposed rezoning during a meeting of the Jefferson County Commission earlier this week.

Concerns brought forth by those addressing the Commission included decreased property value for those adjacent to the proposed area as well as the loss of enjoyment of their property due to the sight, noise and odor that might come from a slaughter house. Attorney Scott Hurley, representing two of the impacted parties, closed out the thirty minute pleading of reasons for the commission to decline to rezone. Beyond the aesthetics associated with a slaughter house, traffic impact and water pollution concerns were also noted by the majority of those speaking to the topic. Though no citizens in favor of the rezoning addressed the commission during the public hearing, commissioners did receive a letter from Charles McSpadden requesting support for the rezoning request. In his letter McSpadden noted that the current A-1 zone allows for a smaller slaughter house that does not require USDA review, while the proposed would be larger but would have USDA restrictions. The majority of citizens that spoke against the rezoning acknowledged the need for industry of this type but those that spoke and nearly 500 others in the community who have signed a petition against the rezoning request agree that the proposed location is not the best choice for a slaughter house.

As of date, a site plan has not been submitted for viewing or approval and no information was brought during the public hearing to address questions regarding water safety. Likewise, neither those in favor or dissent of the rezoning request have provided information specific to the traffic impact on an area that residents are deeming to already be congested at certain times of the day and night.

There was no discussion on the part of County Commissioners in attendance regarding the rezoning request. The item will be on the agenda for Monday’s Quarterly Voting Meeting.

Source: K. Depew, News Director