A poultry company has withdrawn a rezoning application that would enable it to build a 5,000-square-foot processing plant off Timberridge Road near Joe Chandler Road in East Hall.
The move was made because of “lack of support in the community,” said Zac Hill, owner of Z-H Farms LLC.
“A lot of the opposition thought we were trying to build chicken houses and they were unaware that we were already operating a six-house heavy-breeder operation,” he said.
The Hall County Planning Commission voted Oct. 15 to recommend denial of the company’s request to the Hall County Board of Commissioners. Z-H’s request was withdrawn before the commission’s Nov. 8 meeting.
According to paperwork filed by Z-H with the county, the company intended to “produce an all-natural, organic, antibiotic-free, free-range chicken. In order to meet customer (specifications), we are going to process the birds on the farm.”
The document further states: “The process will be minimally mechanized. We intend to process a few days a week.”
Z-H’s lawyer, Ryan Reid, told the planning commission that “there are people concerned that our uses are going to be more obnoxious than what’s presently there. Honestly, the use that we’re planning is going to be considerably less obnoxious.”
That didn’t appease the opposition. A stream of residents spoke against the application on various grounds, including that it didn’t fit in the mainly agricultural-residential area.
“We feel that there is no need for a processing plant of any sort in this area,” said Rick Griffin, who submitted a petition with 321 names. “... We don’t know how big this is going to get. This could be a giant one day. This could be something that the East Hall community wishes that they fought harder for.”
When reached on Tuesday, Griffin said he was pleased with the withdrawal.
However, “we’re just going to keep vigilant about (the proposal),” he said. “It’s got to go through the whole process again and when it does, we’ll do the same. We’re not going to back down. We don’t want it rezoned in our area.”
Hill said Z-H does plan to reapply, possibly within the next few months.
He said that would happen “after we have had time to inform the community about our operation and conditional zoning (that would) ... prevent a large company from coming in and buying us and expanding the operation.
“We’re going to have fewer birds, produce less waste and have less truck traffic. This would be less of an impact than the current use.”