To the editor:
It has come to my attention that the Alexandria City Council – specifically Mayor Justin Wilson and councilors John Chapman, Canek Aguirre, Del Pepper and Mo Seifeldein – approved a special use permit for a chicken slaughterhouse on Colvin Street on March 26. This decision was not for the greater good of Alexandrians as it has increased health, safety and welfare impacts despite the planning staff looking at impacts on the community, including odor.
Alexandria’s Director of Planning and Zoning, Karl Moritz, said the use wasn’t otherwise listed in the zoning ordinance and, somewhat surprised, said, “in the case of this land use we haven’t seen it in decades.” There are some good reasons for that.
Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker did her due diligence for the community and traveled to one of the company’s facilities in Philadelphia, where she spoke with a number of the company’s neighbors. One described the facility’s smell as “unbearable in the summer and not as bad in the winter.” To people who are really concerned
about potential impacts to the community, including odor, this should have been a red flag to investigate before making a decision, but instead the council and planning director came up with the idea “do not allow the odors to escape.” Anybody with a little common sense and a thimble full of experience knows this is a lot easier said than done and rather unlikely, especially in the hot summer.
This use also increases the health risks as chickens can be a vector in contagious disease and no one can guarantee there won’t be a future health problem. And then there is the vile rinse water: “The effluent from all cleaning and sanitizing activities must drain to the sanitary sewer system with prior approval from AlexRenew or be covered by a VPDES permit for discharge into the storm sewer. (T&ES) (P&Z)” and then to the Potomac River.
What we have here is poor planning and judgement about the “potential to impact the community.” More mismanagement in Alexandria concerning the greater good of the community.
-J. Chris Hubbard, Alexandria