AUBURN — A plan to allow slaughterhouses in the city's Agricultural zone gets a public hearing Tuesday.
The Auburn Planning Board is scheduled to review a zoning change that would let Linke Farms of Pennsylvania apply to open a standalone slaughterhouse on two lots at the intersection of Trapp Road and Royal River Road.
The Planning Board is scheduled to review the zoning change and make a recommendation to City Councilors at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Auburn Hall.
The farm, on the 21.5 acre lot at 512 Trapp Road and the 22-acre lot at 526 Trapp Road immediately south, was home to a chicken farm and processing operation in 1998 that was never successful.
Linke Farm's Craig Linke would like to resurrect the operation to process red meat — beef, pork, lamb and goat.
The property is in Auburn's Agriculture and Resource Protection zone that allows slaughterhouses as an accessory use to a farm. Standalone slaughterhouses, like the one Linke is proposing, are currently only allowed in the city's Industrial zone.
No matter what the Planning Board says, if councilors ultimately agree to the change, Linke would be able to apply to the city for special exception to build his slaughterhouse.
But neighbors warn the change would do more than allow Linke's slaughterhouse. It would also open half of the city to slaughterhouses as a special exception.
"I'd rather not live next to a slaughterhouse," said neighbor Ken Bellefleur of 100 Royal River Road. "That's one thing. But I'm very concerned that we'd be opening 50 percent of the city to that kind of change. The only thing that would prevent them from coming in would be the economy."
Neighbor Michelle Melaragno of 576 Trapp Road agreed.
"Changing the Agriculture zone is such a concern because it affects such a large area of the city," she said. But Melaragno said she's just as worried about Linke's proposal. The property is on an old chicken farm and slaughterhouse that is 280 yards from her house.
"I know what it's like to live next to that kind of an operation," she said. "The odor was terrible from that facility and I had bugs in my basement for years because of it."