Calhoun Times

Commission votes no on chicken operation

The 577-acre site on Evergreen Road received a 4-0 vote against rezoning.

- By Blake Silvers BSilvers@CalhounTim­

In what had become a lengthy process, a proposed large poultry operation got its answer from the Gordon County Planning and Zoning Commission Monday night.

Commission­ers voted unanimousl­y 4-0 not to recommend a proposed rezoning of 577.17 acres on Evergreen Road for a large dry litter poultry operation. The meeting was held at the downtown GEM Theatre and drew a large number of citizens.

The rezoning applicatio­n to the planning commission for a conditiona­l use rezoning of county parcels 082-009 and 082-002 was submitted in early May by Tao Quoc Nguyen of Chatsworth and was tabled for various reasons in June, July and August before Monday night’s vote.

The parcel, currently zoned A-1 agricultur­al, is located where Evergreen Road intersects with Nesbitt Loop, with Old Audubon Road running through part of the property. The land is currently owned by Springbank LLC.

The request was for conditiona­l use zoning for 24 chicken houses 50 by 600 feet in size.

Nearby landowners have addressed concerns to county officials over the environmen­tal impact as well as the possible depreciati­on of their property values, and many continued to speak out against the rezoning at Monday’s meeting, including Resaca Mayor Nathan Wyatt, and Coosa River Basin Initiative Executive Director Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman.

Wyatt expressed concern over the possible

truck traffic the operation might send the way of 136 at Highway 41, an already busy intersecti­on that has also recently been blocked for hours by CSX trains stopped on the tracks.

Demonbreun-Chapman explained to the board his organizati­on’s concerns over the high water table underneath the flood plain portion of the property and the possibilit­y of waterway contaminat­ion from a poultry operation in the area.

A representa­tive for the applicant told the commission that with a letter of intent from Tyson Foods, the operation will only be building 12 houses initially instead of 24, but was told that the board was only allowed to consider the applicatio­n and any supporting documents as presented prior to the meeting.

The environmen­tal impact study presented to the board by the applicant prior to the meeting was only for 12 houses, but the applicatio­n can not be amended during the meeting, according to commission chair Randy Rule.

Only one public speaker came forward in support of

rezoning approval was contractor Mark Owens assured the board that, if Tyson was the company associated with the operation, the majority of truck traffic would be traveling to and from the eastern side of the county and not through Resaca.

In the end, a motion not to recommend approval

of the rezoning came from Commission­er Sabrina Poole with a second from Commission­er Nathan Serritt. Both voted against approval, along with commission­ers Eddie Smith and Jerry Lovelace. The vote brought cheers from the remaining crowds who filled the theatre.

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