Butchertown neighbors fight additions to Swift pork plant - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Butchertown neighbors fight additions to Swift pork plant

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JBS/Swift workers bide their time during an evacuation of the plant in 2011 JBS/Swift workers bide their time during an evacuation of the plant in 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Butchertown Neighborhood Association is asking a judge to overturn a Louisville zoning board's decision last month to allow a small expansion of the JBS/Swift hog slaughtering plant on Story Avenue.

On March 17, the Louisville Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment voted to allow the plant to add a 4,008-square-foot animal unloading chute enclosure and 162 square feet to the plant's animal bleeding and stunning building, according to the appeal filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court.

In approving the plant's modified use permit, the zoning board shirked its legal requirement to consider whether nuisances like foul odors would be mitigated, according to the complaint by the neighborhood association and Butchertown resident Andrew Cornelius.

In fact, the board acknowledged during its hearing that, only 10 days prior, the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District issued "a multitude of regulatory violations" against the pork plant for incidents from 2009 to 2013, the appeal says.

Those violations included "a failure to control objectionable livestock odors from the hog stock pen and hog trucks," failure to monitor odor control equipment and failure to report emissions and certify compliance with the air district, according to the complaint.

The zoning board's approval came with two conditions that the neighborhood association says are "arbitrary and capricious" and insufficient to address air problems created by the pork plant, according to the appeal.

One condition is that JBS/Swift has to report back to the board every six months for two years on the status of its air pollution compliance; the other condition places a limit on the number of hogs slaughtered per day.

Glenn Price, JBS/Swift's attorney for Louisville zoning matters, said he hadn't had a chance to review the appeal Tuesday and couldn't comment on it.

"The (zoning) board did act appropriately and it was a unanimous decision" to approve the plant's modified permit, Price said.

JBS USA LLC and Swift Pork Co. are based in Greeley, Colorado.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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