Proposed Slaughterhouse Text Amendment Delayed

NEWARK – Discussion of a text amendment that would allow farmers to butcher and sell beef has been delayed.

Though the Worcester County Planning Commission was set to consider a text amendment next week that would allow livestock farms to slaughter, package and sell beef, the item has been pulled from the agenda.

Mark Cropper, the attorney representing the applicant, asked county staff to continue the matter until a later date so that his client could review the information submitted by opponents of the text amendment.

“He needs time to review everything and have researched a variety of issues,” Cropper wrote in an email to county staff this week. “There simply isn’t time to do so between now and the scheduled hearing date.”

The text amendment submitted to the county has been proposed by Newark resident Bob Ewell, who wants to sell beef from the cattle he raises on his Croppers Island Road farm. According to county staff, agriculturally zoned land can be used to raise and sell livestock, and can be used for roadside stands offering processed agricultural products for sale. Staff determined when Ewell inquired last year that it cannot be used for the slaughtering of livestock.

As a result, Cropper submitted the text amendment, which is not site specific, to allow slaughtering as an accessory use to farms in the A-1 agricultural district.

Residents of Croppers Island Road have expressed a variety of concerns about the amendment, which they’ve pointed out would apply to agriculturally zoned land throughout the entire county. They’re worried about environmental impacts and, in their neighborhood specifically, traffic and commercial activity.

With the item pulled from the Feb. 3 planning commission agenda, it’s not clear when the text amendment will be reviewed. The planning commission meets on the first Thursday of every month.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.