Easton zoning board upholds slaughterhouse permit

Neighbors of this property on Tranquility Drive in Easton are fighting a plan to place a commercial chicken coop and slaughterhouse on the property.

Neighbors of this property on Tranquility Drive in Easton are fighting a plan to place a commercial chicken coop and slaughterhouse on the property.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

EASTON — A controversial slaughterhouse on Tranquility Lane has been approved.

The zoning board of appeals voted to uphold the permit on May 24. The decision led to much frustration as well as a number of restrictions.

“It’s mind-boggling,” said Attorney Charles J. Willinger, Sr., who represents some of the neighbors. “I will tell you that my clients and the entire neighborhood are furious. They believe that there are environmental issues and property value issues. They believe that it destroys the character of the residential neighborhood and they’re not going to take this sitting down.”

Willinger also argues the proposed commercial poultry business is an unlawful accessory use and that the proposed chicken coops and slaughterhouse are unlawful accessory structures.

He said he and his clients are discussing their strategy, but an appeal may be on their mind.

“We are weighing our options, but I anticipate that next week we will be filing,” Willinger said.

David F. Sherwood, attorney for the property homeowner, was unable to be reached for comment.

The town issued a zoning permit for the property last year to build a two-bedroom modular house and a 10-foot by 10-foot chicken slaughterhouse. The town’s zoning enforcement officer has said that the project was approved because it met the zoning regulations.

Neighbors appealed the decision though with it coming before the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 3.

Upon the May 24 meeting, the board had three choices: deny the appeal and uphold the permit, grant the appeal and void the permit, or deny the appeal, but modify the permit with conditions.

The board eventually voted 4-to-1 to deny the appeal, but modify the permit with conditions.

Under the conditions, no roosters are allowed on site and the property must meet the lighting regulations. The facility must also comply with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture small poultry processor inspection program, the site plans submitted with the zoning permit and the approved business plan.

The last condition states that leftover chicken remains must be immediately taken off-site by a licensed hazmat company.

For First Selectman Dave Bindelglass while the restrictions were approved, he remains concerned about the situation.

“It’s still not clear to me what the true intentions are here,” said Bindelglass. “The zoning board of appeals [approved] the permit with several conditions, but we haven’t heard anything back yet about where we stand with that and where the owner stands with that.”

According to Bindelglass’s message to the town on May 28, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has yet to allow the enterprise to go forward.

“There’s a couple of things still pending,” Bindeglass said. “We’re monitoring the situation closely to see where it goes.”