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Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Permit for Slaughterhouse?
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Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Permit for Slaughterhouse?

Re: SUP 2018-0117 – Council Docket 19-1858 3225 Colvin Street – Animal Slaughterhouse – City Council March 16, 2019 Public Hearing

It is astonishing and horrifying that City Council is proceeding at the March 16 public hearing meeting to confer a Special Use Permit for a slaughterhouse within yards of multiple animal care businesses.

The proposed activity, to be conducted on Colvin Street, is completely inconsistent with applicable law and with existing permitted uses. The proposal is not consistent with the city’s Industrial classification. The staff report reveals numerous highly material, substantive inconsistencies. Delivery hours, waste, and other key conditions are completely contradictory and grossly incomplete. And the Planning Commission’s hasty consent disregarded numerous material inconsistencies in the application and related materials; the no- discussion “consent agenda” treatment also disregarded multiple statements of public opposition that were not even noted in the record. In fact, the public videotape of the meeting demonstrates that the Planning Commission initially attempted to grant the SUP without even conducting a vote.

The facility site lies within several hundred feet of multiple different animal-care facilities and businesses, the most proximate of which is directly across the street. Those businesses cannot possibly be expected to operate in the shadow of a slaughter facility. If City Council grants this SUP, then council is shutting those businesses down. The city staff report reflects no research or even passive observation of nearby premises. There was no contact with nor notice to those premises or their occupants. Proximate land owners are required to receive notice; they did not, and have advised City Council that they would have opposed the matter if given the chance.

For the first time, the city is considering the Industrial zoning classification to include animal slaughter facilities. The Industrial classification permits animal care facilities (see Zoning Ordinance Sec. 4-1201 et seq.), but does not allow for animal slaughter facilities.

The SUP applicant’s commitments, the staff’s report, and the recommended SUP conditions are completely inconsistent. The application and the city’s staff report all claim differing live-animal delivery and trash removal frequency. The SUP application asks for a 90 minute per day delivery window; the staff report proposes up to 17 hours per day. The SUP application’s waste disposal commitment sometimes promises collection daily, and on other sheets does not.

The staff report claims that only “typical retail shopping establishment noise [is] to be expected” but then ignores the applicant’s description of the industrial slaughter equipment.

The SUP application requests authorization for activities that are barbaric, involving days of protracted confinement in a windowless and apparently not temperature-controlled facility while awaiting fully- conscious slaughter. Businesses like this have invited enmity and damaged property valuation and other lawful uses in other densely-populated cities. The Planning Commission analysis is insufficient, involved no notice, and ignored obvious facts.

The application is shocking, and should be denied.

Mark C. Williams

Alexandria