AUBURN — A proposed Trapp Road slaughterhouse is cleared to apply for a special use permit after a City Council vote Monday night.
Councilors voted 4-2 to allow slaughterhouse operations in the city’s Agriculture and Resource Protection Zone, with councilors Eric Samson and David Young voted against the measure.
Hours later, early Tuesday morning, a fire was reported at the site of the proposed slaughterhouse, 512 Trapp Road. At least four firetrucks were on the scene, along with some police vehicles.
Police Lt. Scott Watkins said the incident was being treated as suspicious because the building, a long-low barn with metal siding, was unoccupied and lacked electricity.
The smell of smoke was in the air and the building was singed above a door.
Further details on the fire were unavailable.
Slaughtering operations were allowed on existing farms in the agriculture zone as an accessory use and as stand-alone operations only in the city’s industrial zone.
Developer Craig Linke can now apply for a special-use permit to build the large-animal slaughterhouse at the intersection of Trapp Road and Royal River Road.
Monday’s vote did include limits on slaughterhouses. They are not allowed in the Lake Auburn and Taylor Pond watersheds and the building size is limited to 10,000 square feet.
The number of employees is limited to 15 and the hours of operation are set at 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Linke plans to open Mainestock, a stand-alone slaughterhouse, on 21.5 acres at 512 Trapp Road. The farm, on the 21.5-acre 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 operation.
Neither Linke nor any of the neighbors opposing his slaughterhouse attended Monday’s meeting. It made for a short item on the agenda, with councilors completing a public hearing and second reading on the matter vote in less than four minutes.
Councilors also voted to change the city’s Low Density Country Residential zoning, saying the slaughterhouses are not allowed there. Planner Eric Cousens said that the LDCR zoning is basically the same as the Agriculture and Resource Protection zone, with some relaxed standards for housing. With slaughterhouses now allowed in the Agriculture zone, councilors needed to change the LDCR language to keep slaughterhouses out.