Letter — Meat processing plant does not belong in Darlington Heights

Published 10:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to voice my disappointment and disapproval concerning the possibility of a meat processing plant on Darlington Heights Road with an address of Cullen, Virginia. Certainly, this community understands change. In this change, they have suffered great loss for decades. A school, three general stores, and a post office. If not for a great group of residents, they would not have a volunteer fire department and two houses of worship that have survived. Thus, you can certainly understand that this fine group of residents would welcome a new business and industry. Almost anyone would welcome an economic business leader. However, a meat packing plant is certainly not the right fit for a community such as this unique one.

On a personal note, my family has been in the community since about 1860. They have all paid taxes, managed businesses, taken care of their properties, and each other. All done while making sure it is a right fit for the community and the surroundings of Darlington Heights. In fact, my father owned his own trucking business. While it was not a big business, it operated safely and with concern for the surrounding neighborhood. It was a different time then and I am sure if he were still alive and running this business, things such as high regulations, zoning, insurance, etc. would be much different today. Thus, if a commercial business is approved in this area, I would expect that they will need to follow very specific guidelines that would be consistently reviewed and checked by county and state officials.

The location and the specified business causes concern for those that own property and homes in the area:

It is on the main highway and should be built more like our local trash dump which is off of the road. Smells that will carry far. Trucks entering and exiting a highway that does not have turning lanes and is barely enough to handle personal autos. Tanks of waste that will need to be emptied on a regular basis. Near homes (zoned commercial?)

I understand that the owners of this property do own other farm property in another county. Why would they purchase in Darlington Heights and not build on their own property?

Please take the time and careful consideration that the residents of this community deserve. While they are on the tip end of the county, please do not treat them as if their voice does not matter in decisions like this one. Please remember that they choose to live in a quiet and undisturbed area and must take the time to drive the distance of Farmville for resources. Please do not plan for a less than well maintained meat processing plant on the way to town and back.

Your time and careful consideration on this project are appreciated.

Jeffrey W. (Jeff) Metcalf

Williamsburg