Local/State

Nash leaders move forward with chicken plant

Monday, February 07, 2011

On Monday afternoon, Nash County leaders approved changes to an ordinance that will allow companies to build processing plants in the area.

Plans are already in place for a facility off N.C. Highway 97 west of the Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport.

Leaders are hoping Sanderson Farms will build a hatchery, spray field and processing plant in the area. The plant would bring 1,100 jobs to Nash County.

However, Monday's approval came after more than five hours of heated debate.

"Many people have said we don't want these type of jobs, we need all types of jobs," Rocky Mount resident John Parker said. "We need to look at this as a building block."

"You can't possible think this is good for us, it is not good for us, it is not good for Nash County," Nash County resident Pam Staap said.

After both sides made their points, commissioners voted and approved changes to an ordinance that will make it easier for companies like Sanderson Farm's to use the land off Highway 97. But many residents said they aren't buying it.

"There's too much special consideration being made for Sanderson Farms --first the re-zoned the area so they could come in," Nash County resident John Hudson said.

However, the county manager says the changes are meant to clarify how industrial zoned land is already known to be used in hopes of avoiding another lawsuit.

A lawsuit filed by the City of Wilson and more than 30 residents has significantly slowed the commissioner's efforts to bring a processing plant to Nash County.

But the 5-2 vote Monday afternoon has put Sanderson Farms one step closer to reality, something many residents say they'll continue to fight.

"Did you really think we were just going to sit back and take it," Staap said.

In the meantime, Sanderson Farms cannot begin building its factory until the lawsuit is settled.

So, there is still more time for opponents to make their case.

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