6/6/2017 BOC Work Session Minutes

JUNE 6, 2017

The Gordon County Board of Commissioners held a Work Session Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the main court room of the Gordon County courthouse.

Chairman Hood called the meeting to order.

Chairman Hood asked for a motion to open the public hearing for comments from the public
regarding the amendment to the Unified Land Development Code concerning poultry operations in
Gordon County.

County Attorney Jim Ledbetter spoke to the Board and the audience and gave the history of the
Unified Land Development code regarding poultry operations and how it has come to be the
document it is now. Attorney Ledbetter advised the Board that there are several people signed up to
speak regarding the amendment to the code for poultry operation, he then read the rules to be
followed regarding participants who wish to speak at the public hearing.

Attorney Ledbetter then called Russell Bryant, the first person signed up to speak. Mr. Bryant spoke in favor of the proposed amendment to the code for poultry operations and gave a list of negative impacts that chicken houses have.

Mr. Robert Gwynn spoke to the Board in favor of the amendment and stated that he would like limits of one mile or one and a half mile from a home for a chicken house to be built. He cannot sit on his porch and drink his coffee in the morning due to the odor of a close by chicken house.

Mr. Doug Jones spoke in favor of the amendment and asked what future and what industry do you want in Gordon County and City of Calhoun. Poultry houses are saturating the county and soon every vehicle passing through on I-75 will be passing without stopping because of the unpleasant odors. He asked, what kind of county and city do you want.

Mr. Eddie Smith spoke in favor of the amendment and his opinion is that we are being overrun with poultry houses in Gordon County. We have way too many chicken houses in residential neighborhoods. These are not mom and pop businesses, this is an industry.

Mr. Mark Owens spoke in opposition to the amendment, there are too many hoops to jump through, there will be irreparable harm done to families and others involved as support personnel of a poultry operation. If each person applying for a permit has to go to the Board and there are twenty people there opposed against the one person applying, it’s not going to work fair. This is encroaching on individual rights of the land owner. Thank a farmer when you have your next meal, keep in mind chickens have to be grown by someone.

Mr. Adam Williams spoke in opposition to the amendment, only about 2% of poultry operations in Gordon County are receiving complaints about them. 99% to 100% of chicken farms are family farms. The 2% are hurting the other 98% of operations who are being found guilty without due process.

Mr. Michael Williams spoke in opposition to the amendment, studies show that after 50 feet, any dust from a poultry operation is gone. The Board needs to get all of us together and come up with a sound, factual solution where all parties can support it.

Mr. Jacob Williams spoke in opposition to the amendment, this ordinance won’t correct the perceived issues, need mutually agreeable solutions. Everybody needs to work together to solve the problem.

Mr. Kevin Holsomback spoke in opposition to the amendment, it will not address where the problems really are. Don’t make others have to have strict code to go by when the complaints are really only about a few operations. The amendment will make it almost impossible to build a chicken house in Gordon County.

Mr. William Dillard spoke in opposition to the amendment, he has grown chickens for 25 years and in those 25 years he received only one phone call complaining about his chicken operation. Vote no on the amendment or we will have imported chickens and excessively high imports of chickens come in to Gordon County.

Mr. Clay Brown spoke in opposition to the amendment, mismanagement is the problem. Mismanagement of chicken houses causes smells, there needs to be rules to handle these situations.

Mr. Scott Bone spoke in opposition to the amendment, don’t change the ordinance because of one or two farms. Vote no on this amendment.

Mr. Brian Grogan spoke in opposition to the amendment, he is opposed and asks Board to vote no on the amendment. The part about an applicant having to come before the Board and they hear each applicant’s request to build. The applicant may have several against his getting a permit and none in favor. The farmers and chicken growers have to have more than 40 acres now to make enough money to raise a family on. I don’t like anyone telling me what I have to do to my property, I buy it, I pay for it and I sweat for it.

Mr. James Ware spoke in favor of the amendment. Mr. Ware stated he is familiar with surrounding counties and asked “what is the attraction for building chicken houses in Gordon County”. There are a number of poultry operation that are not going in other counties that are coming to Gordon County. Poultry houses are not pleasant neighbors, people and chicken houses do not mix. We are not asking that the chicken houses be torn down, we just want to control the grown of them. If it was apartments or hotels, we have to keep them in proportion to the population of our county.

Mrs. Judith Ralston spoke in opposition to the amendment, even though her family grows chickens, she has comes to the table from both sides of the situation. The amendment has so many stipulations that it makes us in the business a little scared, like, what is our future going to be. How challenging is it going to be for our families in the future to run our family farms. I Want my son to be able to take over some of our farm when he comes back from college. Please vote no on the amendment.

Mr. Warren Thomas spoke in opposition to the amendment, times have changed, the supposedly family farm on Goat Road, if this is a family farm, they must be related to the Kennedys. These size farms need to be in an industrial park because this is an industry, not a family farm.

Mr. Mike Giles, with the Georgia Poultry Federation has concerns with the conditional use permit approach, the comprehensive nutrient management plan, notice requirements, buffer zone too much left to the Board of Commissioners, and odors require a professional engineer to certify. Mr. Giles pledged to work with Gordon County for a good compromise.

No other persons signed up to speak. Commissioner Sexton made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Owens seconded the motion and Commissioners Sexton, Owens, Cunningham, and Steward voted aye. Public Hearing closed.

The Board discussed the items on the Regular Meeting agenda and made no changes or additions.

Commissioner Sexton made a motion to adjourn the Work Session and go into the Regular Meeting. Commissioner Owens seconded the motion and all voted aye.

There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

Author: County Clerk

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