New Chicken Houses Have Neighbors Calling for Change - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Chicken Houses Have Neighbors Calling for Change

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Six new large chicken houses being built on one property in Princess Anne have nearby neighbors calling for changes from Somerset County leadership.  Some neighbors have raised health concerns and worry about the impact a large poultry operation will have on their community.

The six new chicken houses are currently being constructed on Backbone Road in Princess Anne.  There is still plenty of work to be done before any chickens are housed there but the construction that is underway is an indication of what's to come.  It is a future that Yvonne Habliston, who's property is adjacent to where the new chicken houses will be, is not looking forward too.

"It's just extremely hard to breathe especially if you walk out the door and you're breathing in chicken houses and the particles that are in the area," said Habliston.

WBOC spoke with Gary Pusey, the Director of Planning and Zoning in Somerset County who said the poultry farm under construction has already been approved and any changes the P&Z commission could make would not impact that farm.  Pusey said a number of neighbors have presented the county with health concerns over large poultry operations and are pushing for changes to zoning ordinances in their community.  

Currently, the area is zoned for both residential and agricultural use, so the chicken houses being built are perfectly legal.  And not every neighbor is opposed to their construction.  Van Johnson said he has lived on Backbone Road his entire life and welcomes the new addition to his neighborhood.

"It's progress, and we need more progress in Somerset County.  Because there are not enough jobs in Somerset County for everybody," said Johnson.

There is a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Thursday night that many members of the community are planning to attend.  However, there is no public comment portion at this meeting.  The commission will be discussing possible changes to ordinances in the future but no votes on changes or public hearings will take place on Thursday night. 

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