Swift & Company Zoning Hearing Delayed

by Rick Howlett on July 6, 2009

After a lengthy debate over procedural matters, a Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment public hearing on an expansion of the Swift and Company meat-packing plant in Butchertown was postponed until next month.

The board was supposed to hear public comment and vote Monday on a request from Swift to approve a $2 million expansion that includes a hog chute and a boiler room.

The request comes after Swift began work on the expansion project. Company officials say they were under the mistaken assumption that their contractor had obtained all the necessary permits.

Monday’s hearing was rescheduled after Swift attorney Glenn Price told the board he would need about an hour to present the company’s case. Such comments are typically limited to about 15 minutes.

“We may be able to do it in 45 minutes, but I’m not going to allow the presentation of evidence from our side to go on beyond what we need to do to establish our case,” Price said.

Attorney John Salomon, who represents the Butchertown Neighborhood Association, said he came prepared to deliver a 15 minute presentation. img_1823

“I would just caution from my perspective it seems that we’re heading down a slippery slope in terms of saying that policies can be made whenever the board feels like it. Waiving a policy whenever the board
feels like it isn’t a policy,” Salomon said.

Butchertown residents who have long complained about odors and noise from the plant are opposed to the expansion and want Swift to relocate the operation. Company officials say the expansion will reduce those problems.

The hearing was re-scheduled for Monday, August 31. The Swift request will be the only item on the docket and there will be no strict time limits.

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