By Katie Demeria
WOODSTOCK -- Mountain View Rendering LLC recently requested an amendment to its special use permit to accept emergency diversions from other facilities, but the request has drawn some protests.
The Edinburg company, which also sought and was granted an amendment to a permit in 2012, is requesting the ability to accept product from facilities in Broadway and Moorefield, West Virginia, in cases of emergencies.
Mountain View Rendering, which is located next door to George's Chicken at 173 Rocco Road, processes material from the George's already, and is able to handle emergency material from both the additional facilities, according to General Manager Jason Janita.
Neighbors who were present at last Thursday's Shenandoah County Planning Commission meeting complained of the smell coming from the plant, and a representative from the Friends of the North Fork expressed concern over water quality issues and whether George's water treatment facility could handle the additional product.
Despite those concerns, the commission voted to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the request.
Board member Cindy Bailey expressed concerns during the commission's meeting, which she voiced again during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday. She asked that the public have another chance to comment on the issue.
While the request will be on the agenda for the next evening meeting on Aug. 26, County Administrator Mary Beth Price said it will not be acted upon until the next meeting on Sept. 9.
Bailey said in an interview Tuesday that she will not be voting in favor of the amendment.
"Shenandoah County has been dumped on enough," she said.
Janita pointed out that the product would only be sent to the plant from the other facilities in cases of "catastrophic" emergencies.
"We are not asking to expand our production," Janita said in a later interview. "We would take the product from [the other facilities] so it does not degrade and become an issue for the communities around that area."
The extra product would result in, at most, six additional trucks visiting the plant every day. He added that the emergency situation would last no more than five days.
Janita expressed the same reassurances during the meeting, but Bailey said the wording of the amendment is not clear enough.
"Once the restrictions are lifted, I fear that they can process as much as they want," Bailey said. "The amendment would render the permit useless."
"We would lose control," she added.
That loss of control is especially troubling, she added, when considering that the product could have a negative impact on Stoney Creek.
The Friends of the North Fork gave the commission a letter in which it related that George's Chicken has been out of compliance in recent years with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
While Janita pointed out that the department has already reported that the wastewater could handle the additional emergency product without issue, Bailey said those concerns should be kept in mind and that the board should take its time.
In the end, she added, it comes down to what the residents want.
"If they're concerned, then the board should be concerned," she said.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org