Poultry operations seen as good neighbors

Laurens businessman says county residents should embrace this growing industry
If a farmer wants to build a poultry house and he/she follows all the state mandated requirements, he/she is entitled to build the house(s)." - Mike Little, owner, Agricultural Mfg & Textiles Inc., Laurens

Laurens businessman Mike Little has published a commentary that tells “the other side of the story” to the Mountville-Lisbon Road controversy over more giant chicken houses being permitted by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The complete commentary is on this website, in Opinions, and in today’s issues of The Clinton Chronicle and The Laurens County Advertiser.

“My advice to those who do not want to have a poultry farm near them is to live in an incorporated part of the county. Laurens County has no formal zoning outside the cities. If a farmer wants to build a poultry house and he/she follows all the state mandated requirements, he/she is entitled to build the house(s). Sometimes a technicality can be found to temporarily stop the building, but in most cases the houses are eventually built. The counties cannot pass laws that supersede the state mandates,” his commentary says, in part.

There are 23 permitted poultry farms in Laurens County. A DHEC document attached to this article lists these currently permitted operations.

DHEC has extended - until Nov. 1 - the public comment time for 5 more poultry operations proposed for Mountville-Lisbon Road. The comment extension letter also is attached to this article.

Opponents of more giant chicken houses - each poultry operation contains multiple houses each filled with chickens and generating chicken waste - have by-passed the Laurens County government in their protests. Laurens County has no zoning and, thus, no protections for residential development from encroaching commercial development.

Discussion at the most recently SC DHEC public meeting, held at the Mountville Fire Department, included comments about the opponents taking the issue to court. They would file what is known as a “nuisance lawsuit,” claiming that more chicken houses near their residences would constitute a “public nuisance.”

SC DHEC representatives have said, by state statute, they cannot consider traffic, zoning or decreasing property values when permitting a poultry operation. DHEC does consider setbacks (from residences, wells, waterways) and is the regulatory agency for companies that gather chicken poo and spread it on farm land.


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