Standards for meat processing facilities approved

Published 6:26 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

After a previous public hearing, the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors approved protections for neighbors of those seeking a special use permit for meat packing and related industries at its Tuesday, July 19 meeting.

At the Feb. 8 Board of Supervisors meeting, a public hearing was held for Beverly and Qadir Abdus-Sabur who sought a special use permit to operate a meat processing facility at their home on Darlington Heights Road, in Cullen.

At the public hearing, many were concerned with the impact of having a meat processing facility that would cause noise, light pollution and odors in the area that is zoned residential and agricultural. The board had tabled the discussion and the Abdus-Sabur’s have moved their plans to a commercial location.

In light of this previous public hearing, it became apparent that the Prince Edward County Zoning Ordinance does not provide any development standards as it relates to meat packing and related industries.

“We looked at the county ordinances and we did require a special use permit, but there were no standards of development like we have for other types of uses,” said Robert Love, planning and zoning administrator.

County staff looked at other localities to see what they require for meat processing facilities. They also worked with Sekou Abdus-Sabur, the son of the applicants, to add input to the draft they sent to the planning commission.

“None of this will impede his operation or his intended use,” Love said. “It does set forth best management practices that will help in the design of that site and if we ever do have another application, it would put in more standards.”

The standards include but are not limited to, the building not exceeding 20,000 square feet, all buildings and unloading areas being at least 50 feet from the property line, all operations being under a roof and screened from view of adjoining properties or the street, outdoor holding pens being screened from view and any noise, light, vibrations or odors being undetectable from beyond the property lines.

No one spoke for or against these standards at the current public hearing and the Board passed the ordinance amendment unanimously.

In other business:

• The board welcomed its new board members, Supervisor Carol Stiff representing District 2 and Supervisor Cannon Watson representing District 7.

• Bernice Letterman, administrative assistant for the Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office was recognized as Employee of the Month for July. Morgan Curtis won the first vaccinated scholarship from the Board of Supervisors for $2,000.

• Scott Frederick of VDOT gave an update on highway matters. In Virginia, there were 968 fatalities in 2021. In Prince Edward County, there were 320 total crashes with seven fatalities. Contributing factors in the seven crashes include two due to alcohol, four were due to speed and three were due to unrestrained drivers or passengers. Some crashes had more than one contributor.

• Supervisors held a public hearing about the SCOPE Building, located at 505 Griffin Boulevard, Farmville, following the county’s procedure for disposition of surplus real property. Due to the poor condition of the building, the board voted to declare the building as surplus property and advertise it for sale by sealed bid once a week for four consecutive weeks in The Farmville Herald and on the county’s website.

• The board approved the request to designate Chelsey White as Prince Edward’s liaison to work with the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission and adopt a resolution of support to later form a committee to aid in the planning for the commemoration period. This will be part of a nationwide celebration of America’s 250th birthday.

• The board voted to award the lump sum contract for $1,998,682.00 to J.R. Caskey Inc. and include a 10% contingency amount for any necessary change orders for the construction of the access road at the Prince Edward County Business Park off of Commerce Road/Route 628. Supervisors also voted to authorize County Administrator Doug Stanley to sign a contract with J.R. Caskey Inc., rejecting those change order prices as recommended by the engineer and authorizing any necessary change orders in an amount up to 10% of the total project cost. This 1,500 feet of road will provide access to over 60 acres of land in the Business Park that are currently landlocked.

• Supervisors approved the request to partner with the Town of Farmville for renovations of the Mary E. Branch Community Center non-profit, 632 S. Main St., Farmville. In this partnership, the county will provide 50% or $11,303 of the funding for the proposed facility assessment and be transferred from the budget line 92000-5807, or Reserve for Contingencies, to a new project line to cover the county’s share of the expense.

• With new appointments to the board, numerous positions needed for its members to be appointed or reappointed. Stiff and Watson were appointed to the Granite Falls Community Development Authority and the Virginia Heartland W&S Authority. Llewellen Gilliam Jr. was appointed to the Planning Commission. The Poplar Hill Community Development Authority was formerly held by Beverly Booth of District 1 so supervisors voted to postpone the appointment until her position was filled. Stiff was appointed to the Crossroads Community Services Board.

• The board approved changes to its electronic meeting policy that was initiated by changes in the Code of Virginia. Changes include a medical condition of a family member, the allowable number of meetings to participate is increased to two or 25% or whichever is greater and the required time to request electronic participation is on or before the day of the meeting.

• Supervisors voted to transfer funds totaling $698,600 to committed funds. This money was unspent in the FY22 budget. This allows the county to set aside funding for specific special projects as approved by the Board of Supervisors.

• The board approved appropriating/transfering funds for Animal Control totaling $44,156.23. These funds were unspent in the FY22 budget. This will go to expenses including full-time staff salaries and the purchase of a new motor vehicle.

• Supervisors approved a credit card policy and an updated travel reimbursement policy. These policies outline the responsibilities and guidelines for the use of county credit cards issued to select employees.

• The board voted to approve the proposal from Timmons Group dated June 30, for a water sampling program and treatability study for the Sandy River Reservoir and authorize the county administrator to sign a proposal.

• The board authorized advertising vacancies for citizen volunteers. The vacancies are in the Social Services Board and the County Planning Commission.