Auburn slaughterhouse moves ahead

AUBURN — A proposed Trapp Road slaughterhouse took its first step toward approval Tuesday as city councilors favored a zoning change on first reading.

"Does this fit in the ag zone? I think it does," Councilor Ray Berube said. "That's why I will be supporting this."

Councilors will take up the matter on second reading at their Feb. 7 meeting.

If they approve it then, they'll clear the way for developer Craig Linke to apply for a special-use permit to build the large-animal slaughterhouse at the intersection of Trapp Road and Royal River Road.

Linke plans to open Mainestock, a stand-alone slaughterhouse, on 21½ acres at 512 Trapp Road. The farm, at 512 Trapp Road and the 22-acre, 526 Trapp Road immediately south, was home to a chicken farm and processing operation in 1998 that was never successful.

Linke said he planned to have 15 employees at his new operation.

Slaughtering operations are allowed on existing farms in the agriculture zone as an accessory use. They are allowed as stand-alone operations only in the city's industrial zone.

The city's current zoning is sufficient, said Michelle Melaragno, of 576 Trapp Road, a neighbor of the proposed slaughterhouse.

"If we were looking at Auburn as not allowing this anywhere, then maybe I could understand this a little better," she said. "However, we already allow this somewhere. Let's utilize that. Otherwise, we are shirking our responsibilities to our Auburn."

Melaragno also claimed the zoning change lacked public support, noting that several letters to councilors and a petition with 61 signatures she collected all argued against it.

"You seem to not be representing the taxpayers, the voters, the citizens of Auburn," she said. "Consider that if you allow this change, it opens the door for anyone to come to you with any proposal of this sort."

The city's Planning Board reviewed the matter at two meetings, recommending last week that councilors adopt some restrictions if they approve the slaughterhouse zoning change.

The board recommended not allowing such operations in the Lake Auburn and Taylor Pond watersheds. They also recommended limiting the building size to 10,000 square feet, the number of employees to 15 and the hours of operation to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Councilors adopted all of those restrictions.

"I don't feel it is very good for the image of the city of Auburn to limit the hours of operation for a business, but I guess I can live with this," Councilor Dan Herrick said.

Linke said the operation would have a limited kitchen operation, preparing sausages and meat pies. He has created a website to promote the business: www.mainestock.com.

Linke applied for the zoning change in September, and it's taken more than three months to work through the city's review process.

The company also is investigating a site in Augusta for a slaughterhouse, according to Linke's website. But he said Tuesday that's not the case. The company would consider Augusta if his Auburn proposal failed. He does not have a specific Augusta site selected, he said.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

what did I say?

Joe I have not met you in person, but I have witnessed you on the Dvd that I purchase weekly of the Auburn City Council. So it would be fair to say that I am very familar with your positions that you have taken with the City . I have to say that if you are unable to understand just what it was that I wrote.Well I would suggesst that you look at the DVD's and speaking fairly Joe 'you are a Tool' for the City council. You don't ever seem to be very reasonable in your weekly criticism of the City's positions.

So So until we write again have a great weekend.

 's picture

still no example ...

You can't even cite one example? Just one...

 's picture

Moving forward

Judging from what I witnessed watching the Auburn City Councilors in Action tuesday night. One thing is for Certain .Councilor Herrick and Councilor Ferral really like to play both ends in the Middle. Now is that a fair statement? well to me it is. Having lived In Auburn for many years and eventually residing elsewhere I have had the opportunity to observe just what this current council is up to and to me the Time for Regime change is Long over due. To me it's as though the 'Barbarians are at the Gates of the City'. It is Glaringly obvious that Common Sense has completely disappeared only to be replaced with a 'Gang of Four Councilors' who have systematicly held the greater interests of the Community hostage.

Their short sighted and Self absorbed agenda is Stunting common discourse in Auburn. Does this Council and Current Ciy manager understand how serious things are in America and Augusta? Are they prepared to handle the kind of changes that will affect Auburn?

I would suggesst that former 'Mayors and local Business Men & Women' take an active role and put an end to the Madness that has eveloped Auburn.I would advocate the forming of an 'Ad Hoc Committie Made up of Former Elected officals and Educators and members of the legal system to establish a buffer between the Current Council and City manager.

I also feel that City Manager Glen Aho has demonstrated a shift in priorities , he appears to have been Seduced by the 'Dark Side of the Council. One has to question who does he serve? Yes 'Mr Aho' in Life we all have to serve someone so who are you serving?

Over the Years I like many of you have seen a gradual change in the Core values of those representing the City on the Council For many years it seemed that only certain candidates were elected and eventually the Pendulum has shifted.

It is almost similar to the Direction in which conditions shifted during the French Revolution that Charles Dickens so Aptly wrote about.Like events back then Sanity and Civility had been replaced by Confusion incivility . Common sense as wellm as the idea of Comprimise had vanished as well. Let us pray that is now what is in store for Auburn. The Time for Regime change is at hand.

 's picture

just one example please

I don't understand anything you say here. I would love for you to point to one firm example of what you are talking about.

WHo was great in the past? What did they do that the current council is not doing? What would you prefer them to do?

 's picture

Try to understand the issue before you weigh in...

The vote last night had nothing to do with Mr Linke or the Trapp Rd property. THis was a general vote on whether to allow slaughter facilities as stand alone businesses in the Ag/RP zone. Slaughter facilities are now allowed as an add on business to a farm, so this is only a minor change in reality.

I do feel these facilities are needed and would welcome them to the area. This will do nothing to sully the reputation of Auburn or the LA area. Try to name one other town with a slaughter facility. If you aren't in the business, I'm pretty sure you don't know where they are located and therefore don't think ill of those communities. There is nothing evil or sinister about slaughter houses in Maine. It is true that we don't want a huge factory slaughter facilty in the area. But that won't happen, we don't have the large factory farms that are needed to supply such a facility.

This is also not the first exception to the Ag/RP zoning. There is a waste treatment plant in the Ag zone with lots of heavy truck traffic, far more than would be there with a typical slaughter facility. Also, there have been exceptions for golf courses, large commercial greenhouses and other facilities - ask Mr Pheeny (sorry about the spelling), who commented on this very issue at the last planning board meeting.

I am grateful that the silent majority in Auburn have got their wish and added another potential business. This is certainly good news.

 's picture

broken record Ginger1

but thanks for not commenting on the free cars the city manager is driving...

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