Swift, neighbors clash over smell, noise - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Swift, neighbors clash over smell, noise

A fight between Swift Pork and Butchertown residents was stopped in the first round this morning -- but both sides got in some jabs anyway.

For years, Butchertown residents have complained about odors, noise, and traffic at the Swift packing plant.  Now, they want BOZA to stop two expansion projects -- one which began without any city approval.

"Any expansion in size, any expansion in scale requires prior board approval," Butchertown attorney Jonathan Salomon said on Monday.  Salomon wants BOZA to consider shutting Swift Pork down for its latest violation -- building a new hog chute without getting any city approval or permits.

But Swift attorney Glen Price said the company's contractor, "Had begun construction, by the way, without the knowledge of Swift, without that building permit, and that is the issue before the board."  Price claims Swift's contractor neglected to get needed approvals and, since the company has paid a $500 fine, it's absurd to talk about shutting it down for a minor violation.  "If we can have an hour per side," Price said, "I think we will have enough time to detail those."

But Salomon countered, "I don't think we need more than fifteen minutes of hearing excuses why Swift was unaware of what it was doing on its property."

BOZA decided to delay the full hearing until August 31st when the two sides clashed over issues such as the time needed to present their cases.

Outside the hearing room, Swift claims the new hog chutes actually benefit the neighborhood.  Trucks can now get in and out in twenty minutes, reducing the odors accumulating when hog trucks sit an hour or more waiting to unload.

But residents, noting years of Swift odor violations, are suspicious.  "By reducing the offloading time," Salomon said, "they're also allowing the possibility for even more pigs and more trucks to be brought in."

Butchertown residents and city government agree it is time for Swift to move its slaughterhouse out of downtown.  Residents hope BOZA will turn down Swift's expansion requests so the company will get serious about relocating.

One final note: last night Fox 41 News showed video of a Kelly Construction truck on the Swift property.  Kelly Construction is doing work at Swift, but is not the contractor which failed to get approval to build the controversial hog chute.

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