By Alex Bridges -- email@example.com
Warren County could have its first abattoir -- or poultry slaughterhouse -- if officials give the OK.
The Planning Commission scheduled a public hearing for its Aug. 8 meeting on a request to build and run a poultry slaughterhouse at an established business in the Kelley Industrial Park. However, the industrial zoning of the property at 150 Kelley Drive does not allow for an abattoir. The county zoning ordinance doesn't yet include or define abattoir as a type of use allowed by a permit.
But planning department officials already have expressed concerns with the proposed expansion of the Ayreshire Farm facility to include the slaughtering of poultry.
Planning Director Taryn G. Logan states in a July 11 memo that staff has concerns that the property lies adjacent to a proposed commercial shopping center and surrounding uses do not include those similar to a slaughterhouse. While the current request only covers the slaughtering of poultry, Logan expressed concern the use could expand to cows, pigs or other animals. Concerns also include how often the facility would dispose of waste and containment of the smell from processing.
The Economic Development Authority board of directors opposes the request, according to Executive Director Jennifer R. McDonald. She states in a July 3 letter the board fears an animal slaughtering facility "would subvert the intended usage of the park that is zoned for industrial development, and moreover jeopardize its appearance and our ability to effectively market the park to future industrial users." Directors feel a permit could lead to more slaughterhouses operating in the park, McDonald states. Logan also has noted such a permit would open up industrial zones to that use.
"We would ask that the County Planning Commission take a hard look at this application as it may be detrimental to our community in a number of ways," the letter states.
Walden Foods received a conditional-use permit in 1995 to operate a food-processing business at the property, according to Logan. The permit transferred to Ayreshire Farm Management LC in 2010 after the business submitted a request to the county process food raised on their farm in Loudoun County, Logan states. Ayreshite Farm representatives stated in a letter the business intended to bring animals into the building after they are slaughtered and chilled, package the meat which the firm then would sell at their store and/or restaurant in Loudoun County, according to Logan. The operation fit within the food-processing perameters of the conditional use permit.
Now Ayreshire Farm plans to receive and slaughter live poultry, specifically chickens, turkey or other game birds on site at the processing facility, Logan states. They propose to receive the poultry "in fully enclosed, air-conditioned trucks with the live poultry contained in humane standard cages with room to move around," the memo states. Plans call for poultry to be unloaded from the trucks inside the building, avoiding exposure to the outside, according to Logan.
"They continue to state in their statement of justification that the poultry will be handled and slaughtered by humane standards and in accord with USDA requirements," Logan states. "They have stated that there will not be an increase in noise, waste or traffic with the operation of an abattoir."
Representatives for Nonsuch IV LC have requested the county approve and adopt a text amendment to the zoning ordinance which would allow the construction and operation of an abattoir in the industrial district by a conditional-use permit.
The request also includes adding to the zoning ordinance the definition of an abattoir: a place where poultry for consumption is commercially slaughtered and where the meat may be cut, packaged and/or processed. In conjunction with the ordinance addition, Nonesuch has applied for a conditional-use permit which the county would require should officials adopt the ordinance addition.