Rescind City Council's Approval of SUP to Operate a Slaughterhouse in Alexandria, Virginia
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This petition is in opposition to the approved slaughterhouse in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria businesses and residents ask the Alexandria City Council to rescind its approval of a Special Use Permit (SUP) to Saba Live Poultry to operate a commercial slaughterhouse at 3225 Colvin Street.
3225 Colvin Street is located roughly two miles from the Potomac River Waterfront of Old Town, Alexandria. The Colvin Street corridor and the Duke Street-Taylor Run neighborhood includes small commercial and personal services businesses, light industrial uses, schools, restaurants and bakery, retail, sports fields and homes that will be adversely impacted by the operation of a poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, quail, and turkey) slaughterhouse.
The City failed to conduct a thorough, complete, and accurate analysis of the deleterious impacts of this use, as described below.
- Mayor Justin Wilson stated publicly that he had, “never seen an application like this come before City Council,” but neither the staff nor the applicant conducted any outreach efforts to the numerous surrounding commercial services establishments, restaurants, retail, and nearby residents.
- City Council approved the SUP without sufficient knowledge, understanding, consideration, or receipt from the applicant of full and complete operational plans, odor and noise mitigation plans, waste water generation and management, waste management and removal, emergency operation plans, the number and types of poultry housed and for how long, poultry health inspections and actual number of inspections, impacts from lack of on-street parking and traffic congestion within the corridor.
- The City failed to do its full due diligence by failing to solicit and analyze critical information and data from either the applicant or from state and federal agencies responsible for the regulation and inspection of meat and poultry,
- The City did not conduct a comprehensive review or consult with environmental experts or federal and state agencies on potential environmental impacts to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and as it relates to the City’s sewer and storm drain systems.
City Council failed to adequately consider the following factors in Section 11-504 of the City’s Zoning Code:
- Whether the proposed use will have any substantial or undue adverse effect upon, or will lack amenity or will be incompatible with, the use or enjoyment of adjacent and surrounding property, the character of the neighborhood, traffic conditions, parking, utility facilities, and other matters affecting the public health, safety and general welfare.
- Whether the proposed use would adversely affect the health or safety of persons residing or working in the neighborhood.
- Whether the proposed use would be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property or improvements in the neighborhood.
- Whether the proposed use will substantially conform to the City's master plan.
- Whether the proposed use will have noise characteristics that exceed the sound levels that are typical of permitted uses in the zone.
- Whether the proposed use will be constructed, arranged and operated so as not to dominate the immediate vicinity or to interfere with the development and use of neighboring property in accordance with the applicable zone regulations.
The Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning, the Alexandria Planning Commission and the Alexandria City Council were derelict in their duties by failing to sufficiently inform the public and nearby businesses that the proposed use included the operation of a full-scale commercial slaughterhouse with delivery, containment, and slaughtering of between 200-500 poultry a day, and was not simply a retail butcher shop. Further, these entities deliberately mischaracterized the city charter and zoning codes by:
- Intentionally failing to use the term “slaughterhouse” in its staff report and public notices, while instead referring to the use as a “retail establishment that processes chickens.”
- Public notice was inadequately posted in front of the building, facing inwards against the fence rather than facing out so as to be legible from the sidewalk. At other times during the required notice period, no notice was posted at all.
- The applicant failed to notify at least one or more adjacent businesses (either the business owner or building landlord) by certified letter as required by the SUP application.
- Initially citing the City Code that regulates the “overnight accommodations” for pet related animal care facilities, as providing the justification for the SUP approval at the public hearing on March 16, the revised staff report presented at the following Council meeting on March 26, cited City Charter section 2.04(m) as justification stating that this section, “allows the City to regulate slaughterhouses,” when in fact the section reads, “regulate or prevent slaughterhouses and other offensive uses.”
- Confusing their deliberations by citing religious justifications for approval and stating (without citing any legal justification) that they had to approve the use or be subject to a federal lawsuit.
- Refusing to consider the 2016 denial by the City Council of Everett, Massachusetts of a similar slaughterhouse proposal submitted by the same applicant. In that case, the Council determined that the owner failed to reveal building and health code violations at its other locations, used unlicensed contractors to construct and install a concrete floor that did not meet code and damaged the building, and that the owner was “less than forthright in their conversations with city employees over process and public hearing requirements, despite the applicant having full knowledge of the process.”
- Refusing to give any weight to Vice-Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker’s account of her visit to the applicant's Philadelphia slaughterhouse in which she described noxious odors emanating from the warehouse and stated that neighboring businesses reported that the smell was “unbearable, horrible, enough to make you gag,” along with words such as "stink" and "stench" and "attracts rats." She cited Sec. 11-504 and other valid reasons to deny the application.
It is time for the Alexandria City Council to start listening to its citizens and abide by its own laws, codes, and regulations, rather than its own agenda to ensure that the decisions they make are for the betterment of its residents, businesses, and all of Alexandria.
Join us in asking our elected officials to rescind the slaughterhouse SUP!
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