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Forsyth, Georgia
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October 31, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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October 31, 2018
 

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ARe-porter Page 7A e By Rkl'm forsyth@mymcr.net The Monroe County Planning & Zoning Board granted on Monday a variance to make way for a slaughter house/cattle processing facility on Hwy. 42 South. Maynards Mill Road resi- dent Joseph Egloff asked the P & Z board for a condition- al use variance in agriculture on 60.18 acres on Hwy. 42 South that formerly housed the Wilson Dairy. Egloff said he wants to construct a processing plant that will serve the central Georgia cattlemen's industry. He said the facility would be the first U.S. Department of Agricul- ture-approved, organically- certified processing plant in Georgia. He said currently the closest one like it is in Kentucky. Egloffsaid, "This is not just some hare-brained idea that I just started." Egloff said the facility will be USDA-inspected, and a monitor would be on site for all processing. He said live cattle would be turned into packaged beef in an end sad facility, which he likened in appearance to a barn. Egloff said the animal byproduct, or waste, would be housed in a cool room (below 43 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature) inside the facility and would be picked up weekly by a Dublin-based rendering company. Egloff also estimated that the facility would require 10,000 gallons of water per week, which he said could be obtained from a private well formerly used at the dairy. He said the site would have a septic tank system as well as an underground filtration system. Egloffsaid he intends to process 30 head of cattle per week at maximum capaci He said by comparison he currently takes two to three head per week to Tifton for processing. He said the cattle would be delivered to the site in trailers attached to pickup trucks as opposed large tractor-trailers. He said 90 percent of his meat is sold to farmers' markets and restaurants and said he has no current plan for an on-site retail store. "It's not an industrial- sized, mega facility,', Egloff said. Only one other attendee, Kendall Brown, spoke in support of Egloff's plan. Brown, a Hawkinsville farmer who formerly lived in Monroe County, said the facility would benefit small farmers like himself. Brown said Egloff's plan is for a "state-of-the-art" operation. Brown said many people don't know that a lot of U.S.- raised cattle is sold overseas while the U.S. imports a lot of its beef from Argentina. Brown said he would rather have cattle grown in Georgia under the state's Georgia- grown program. A number of nearby resi- dents spoke out in opposi- tion to Egloff's proposed plan. Barbara Hobbs, who owns property on Hwy. 42 South adjacent to the pro- posed operation, said she's concerned the slaughter house would hurt her prop- erty value, while Maynards Mill Road resident Betty Pe- terman said she's concerned about cow trailers pulling out onto a dangerous stretch of Hwy. 42 South. Hwy. 42 South residents Stephen and Cassandra Cox said Egloff's long-term plan includes deer processing and future retail and said a quiet country area is not the place for a manufacturing facility. Stephen Cox suggested Egl- off find a place near already smelly chicken houses and said a slaughter house is not what the Wilson family had in mind when they sold Egloff the land. "This is ridiculous;' Ste- phen Cox scoffed. Cassandra Cox noted a dangerous hill near where Egloff's proposed driveway entrance would be and said she's concerned about the growth potential of the facil- ity and its impact on future land uses in the area. Hwy. 42 South resident Craig Martin said the facil- ity, which Egloffintends to be 7,500 square-feet, is not compatible with the residential property around it and agreed with Hobbs it would hurt property values. Montpelier Road residents Larry and Diane Letson said they own a losey Road tract that abuts Egloff's. Diane Letson said her father, who owned and operated the Wilson Dairy, would be horrified at Egloff's plan to slaughter cattle instead of raising it. Larry Letson also said his brother-in-law Ricky Wilson, who was not in attendance, told him the property was not sold to Egloffwith the intention of a slaughter house going there. Hwy. 42 South resident Wayne Jones said the proposed site would put his own home between a trailer park and a slaughter house. Another Hwy. 42 South resi- dent, Reggie Thackston, said he moved to the area two decades ago for its rural na- ture. Thackston said he has concerns about air pollution resulting from the slaughter house and added that the environmental impacts are unknown because there are so few of them in existence. Yet another Hwy. 42 South resident Terry Johnson said the area is more conducive to being a residential area and serves largely as a bed- room community. Johnson said a processing plant is needed in central Georgia but not necessarily in Mon- roe County. When Egloffwas given a chance to give a rebuttal, he showed photos of a slaugh- ter house in Athens located near a residential area. He said the'facility would be visible from Hwy. 42 South but said it would be 800 feet from the roadway. He said there are similar looking buildings on Maynards Mill Road and said no run-off from the facility would flow into surrounding creeks. Egloff, who said he already has commitments to use the facility from several cattle farmers in Monroe and Lamar counties, said he has consulted on the project with the USDA, the Uni- versity of Georgia (UGA) Animal Science Center, the UGA Small Business Development Center and the Georgia Cattlemen's As- sociation. Egloff also tried to refute Letson's daim that Wilson did not approve of the usage, saying he has been discuss- ing it with Wilson for two years. Egloffalso cited the local economic benefits to the project, saying he would employ six to eight persons with salaries ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. He esti- mated he is currently giving Tift County about $95,000 annually in processing fees that would instead be spent within Monroe County if the facility is built. When it was revealed at the end of the discussion that Egloffhas also bought from Wilson an additional 100-plus acres directly east of the proposed facility, it sparked nearby landowner James Vaughn, a former Monroe County commis- sion chairman, to say he felt his rights had been violated because he did not receive an official notification about the zoning hearing. Vaughn said he owns 600 acres due east of the property Egl- off recently bought from Wilson. Monroe County zoning officer Anita Buice urged Vaughn to draft a formal written complaint to send to the county attomey. Vaughn's son Ben serves as the county attomey but was not present during the Egl- off hearing. Buice said Ben Vaughn would likely recuse himself from James Vaughn's legal appeal process. Despite the legal concerns over Vaughn's complaint, P & Z member Red Ezelle motioned to approve Egloff's variance request after more than an hour of discussion. Ezelle's motion was seconded by Chuck Benson, and the motion to approve passed by a 3-1 vote. Michael Brewster was the lone P & Z member who opposed the measure while Jim Rollins abstained. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office will be plac- ing signs in Sex Offenders' yards warning Citizens not to Trick-or-Treat at this address. Should the Sex Offender choose not to have a sign placed in then" yard, he or she will be required to report to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Lobby from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm on October 31st. If the Sex Offender is on Probation, he or she will report to their Probation Officer. Should any Sex Offender have any questions, please contact Sgt. Rhonda Seck- inger at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. To sponsor a classroom, Call Will at (478) 994-2358 Residential & Commemial We Service All Brands Honest & Reliable Service Licensed and Insured Experience You Can Count On Locally Owned & Family Operated Financing Available Service Agreements Thank You for Your Business! The Reporter rec0gnizesits sponsors for its Newspapers in Education program. Thanks to them, hundreds of students throughout Monroe County schools get to use the math, reading, civics and science that they're learning and apply it to real life current events in their community. Central Georgia EMC the M~fo; County Southern t ers Energy Georgia. Power