PARKSLEY, Va.- A public hearing was held at Metompkin Elementary School in Accomack County on Wednesday for residents to give their input before a vote on poultry house regulations.
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors sat before a crowded cafeteria and heard the concerns of county residents regarding health issues and poultry houses in their communities.
Accomack County Supervisor Ron Wolff said this was the first step in addressing part one of the county's two part poultry house regulation plan. He said the board would vote Wednesday on setbacks, where the houses can be located and buffers; and site plans, how many can be on what number of acres.
Accomack County has been dealing with a rapidly expanding poultry industry. Economically, poultry sales represents 63 percent of all agriculture sales for the county, according to county economic records.
Mariam Briggs lives in the county and said she has concerns with the fast growth of the industry and no rules in place.
"I do have concerns, because in Savageville, the poultry operation is very close to people's homes. The fact that manure sheds associated with those poultry operations are dangerous and they contain pathogens and can catch on fire and burn and become a real hazard for the community," Briggs said.
Donna Bozza, who is the executive director of Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, said she really wants an emphasis to be put on public health issues.
"We recognize this is a big economic impact and creates jobs, but we can't be sacrificial lambs for what could potentially be very harmful for our citizens," Bozz said.
County Supervisor Ron Wolff said after Wednesday's vote the next step in part two of the poultry regulation plan is to get recommendations from the planning committee on manure sheds, ground water and storm water run offs. He said another public hearing would be held in the future once those recommendations were ready to be voted on.