Community Opposed to Poultry Farm Proposal in Somerset Co. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Community Opposed to Poultry Farm Proposal in Somerset Co.

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 PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - One community is taking a stand against a proposal to bring a cluster of poultry farms to their neighborhood.

When  Sherri Kerchner and her husband moved into a uniquely built log home a decade ago, she said location had a lot to do with it.

"We love it. It's very rural, " Kerchner said. "[But] to have big, massive chicken houses, it's horrible. I mean we looked all over the Eastern Shore to probably find a place that was not near big chicken houses."

Salisbury farmer Ben Nguyen wants to bring six chicken houses and a manure shed to an area near Pine Acres Drive off College Backbone Road. Nguyen tells WBOC he withdrew a second proposal to bring at least four more poultry farms to the community after a potential buyer offered to purchase the land in August. He said he lost at least $21,000 when the offer fell through.

Alverne Chesterfield is part of the Wildwood Lane community. He is not happy about the plan to bring mega farms to the area.

 "It's not going to be a good environment," Chesterfield said. " I don't think I'd want to walk past a chicken house every single day."

Members of the Backbone Corridor Neighbors Association put up signs to raise awareness about the plan along Backbone College Road. Kerchner is part of the group. Many residents said they are concerned about their quality of life and property value diminishing once the poultry farms are built.

"I think it's going to be noisy, dirty; I think it's going to be smelly, " Kerchner said. "I'm not going to be able to enjoy my bike rides and walks."

With those concerns in mind, Nguyen tells WBOC he plans to rotate the chicken houses 90 degrees, so the fans will blow into the woods. He said he also plans to cut down and plant thousands of trees to protect the area around the poultry farms. 

Nguyen said he has already obtained his permit and would like to build the chicken houses as early as next month.

The Backbone Corridor Neighbors Association will take its concerns to next month's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in Somerset County.

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