Town Hall Meeting to Discuss Poultry Industry Concerns - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Town Hall Meeting to Discuss Poultry Industry Concerns

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

PRINCESS ANNE,  Md.- Environmental advocates are holding a public information session in Princess Anne on Wednesday night to address concerns about the expansion of the poultry industry on Delmarva.

Assateague Coastal Trust and the Assateague COASTKEEPER are hosting the town hall meeting at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Public health experts will be present. Residents will discuss how the poultry industry may affect their lives, health, communities and their environment. 

This meeting comes on the heels of construction of 12 new chicken houses off Backbone Road near Princess Anne.

Lisa Inzerillo and her husband live footsteps away from one set. The poultry houses are not operating yet, but she dreads the day they do.

"They're going to cause more smell, more property value decline, and our value of life is going to go down," Inzerillo said."It is a concern for our health here [too]."

Inzerillo and others alike have taken their concerns to Somerset County's Department of Planning and Zoning, but nothing could be done to prevent the operation. Residents off Backbone Road live in an Agricultural Residential District, which makes poultry houses legal in the area. Some residents want to see changes in the zoning regulations.

"They're not protecting us" Inzerillo said. "They're [the county] letting them put them [chicken houses] anywhere they want next to residential neighborhoods." 

"They're industrial scale and belong in industrial zones," Inzerillo said.

The P & Z  sought recommendations from the Delmarva Poultry Industry Incorporated (DPI), a non-profit organization working for the continued progress of the poultry industry on the peninsula, to help minimize neighbor complaints. DPI provided the Planning Commission with a report called "Best Management Practices for Good Neighbor Relations," that contains voluntary guidelines for growers and poultry companies to follow when siting new poultry houses.

Several environmental groups recently called for a moratorium on chicken house construction across Delmarva, mainly Maryland, until 2024 when the Phosphorous Management Tool will be fully implemented.

A report from the DC-based Environmental Integrity Project said there have been many dozens of new houses built and more are approved for construction across Delmarva recently.

But according to DPI, new chicken houses are not popping up quickly. The pace is steady, as increases are only between 1 to 2 percent each year.

Nonetheless, some residents still are not happy and said they just want people to be informed. 

The education session is happening Wednesday night inside Henson Hall on the campus of UMES from 6-8 p.m.

"We're urging people to come out because they don't need to feel alone," Inzerillo said. 
 

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