Mountville's chicken-raising industry grows again
UPDATE: 3rd chicken house is permitted. Mountville's chicken-raising industry just got 2 -- now 3 -- houses bigger with the issuance of permits Dec. 7 & 14 by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.
A letter from DHEC dated Dec. 7 says this is the permit issuance date, and the effective date of the permit is Dec. 22 for 2 broiler facilities - Alexander Family Farms (expansion) - Mike Alexander; and Green Acres of Mountville - Patricia Green. Another broiler facility for Heath Coggins was permitted Dec. 15. The permitting becomes effective unless there is a notice filed for an appeal before the full SC DHEC board. The letters were accompanied by answers to questions posed by opponents of the facilities.
Two more broiler facilities are under DHEC review for Lisbon Road. The Mountville/Lisbon Road area is 7 miles south-west of Clinton. There are 35 active and permitted poultry houses currently within 5 1/2 miles of Mountville. An opponent, Charles Blackmon, pointed out to the Laurens County Council earlier this year, "DHEC is poised to permit 30 new poultry houses within 1 mile of each other just NE of Mountville. According to DHEC data, more than 5,000 tons of animal waste will be annually produced by the 30 new houses alone."
Blackmon asked for, but has not yet received, a letter or resolution of the Council declaring a moratorium on any new permits in this "poultry cluster" until a full, federal environmental study can be done. The Council representative for this district, Stewart Jones, recently posted on social media that he visited Amick Farms in Lexington County, the contract buyer of chickens produced by the Mountvillle/Lisbon Road producers.
Opponents say no one is going to want to live, buy or build houses in the Mountville/Lisbon Road/southern Clinton area because of the smell produced when active chicken manure is spread on farmland in this area of Laurens County.
Proponents say this is an active, wage-producing industry that the State of South Carolina regulates more stringently than other states which have experienced rapid growth in the poultry-production industry.
The DHEC letters permitting the Alexander expansion and the new Green Acres facilities say the state agency will regulate odors, vectors, water quality and dead animal disposal. Manure spreading businesses also fall under DHEC regulations.
DHEC officials have told people in Mountville/Lisbon Road they cannot take traffic, property values or zoning into account when being asked to permit a poultry facility. Laurens County does not have a zoning or land use planning ordinance.