Letter — Board should listen to the people

Published 5:53 pm Saturday, February 26, 2022

To the Editor

It came to the attention of our community, that someone wanted to build and operate a slaughterhouse/meat processing plant on Darlington Heights Road within a residential area. Yes, there are a few small remaining farms but this area is attracting more young families and retirees than people wanting to start farms or continue with old family farms.

This proposal was brought before the Prince Edward Planning Commission and they approved it in January. They approved it because no one showed up to contest it. The problem is that none of us knew about it.

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Two hundred and one residents have signed this petition protesting the location of this facility.

On Feb. 8 there was a Public Hearing at the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors meeting. Approximately 45 people showed up at this meeting. We brought our petitions and several people voiced their opinions about not wanting this slaughterhouse in our community. For the many reasons that you can imagine that come along with a facility like this, as pollution to the environment, effects on water tables to surrounding homes, health issues, smells, noise, traffic, we just do not want it near our homes. Case studies have shown that property values are greatly decreased around these types of facilities. This is detrimental to the County because lower land values mean less tax revenue.

My complaint is concerning some of the members on our Board of Supervisors. It was very obvious that three of the Supervisors had already made up their minds and were acting on their wants and personal opinions and not taking into account that 201 people had signed a petition. The application states slaughterhouse in more than one place and the plans show holding pens. A Supervisor made a comparison that he lived right beside the County landfill and that it did not bother him and basically questioned why this would be a problem. He failed to convey was that his property was purchased when the landfill was already there. He chose to locate there and it was not forced on him.

Lastly, but I feel more importantly, another Supervisor stated her opinion that was totally uncalled for.  She insinuated that the people did not want the applicant to build there because of his religious beliefs.  Not one person signing the petition stated this. Those signing the petitions, Blacks and whites, people of different faith, simply do not want a slaughterhouse in their community. It does not matter what his religious beliefs are. Every issue does not have to turn into a racial or a discrimination issue. This Supervisor clearly spoke out of turn and has offended a lot of people.

These three Supervisors were elected to weigh the facts, form an unbiased, fair decision to the many requests that come before the Board. With so many people voicing their opinions and clearly stating that they do not want this slaughterhouse this Board should listen to the people.

The people in Darlington Heights do not deny this applicant from wanting to pursue building this facility.  We do however feel that this is not the location and there are much better places within the County to put it.

Linda Timmons

Darlington Heights