Proposed large chicken operation draws concern from neighbors

This sign is one of many across central Gordon County in opposition of concentrated animal feeding operations such as the one that had been proposed large operation off Evergreen Road at Nesbitt Loop.

A proposed 577 acre poultry operation on Evergreen Road is drawing concern from some surrounding property owners. 

An application to the planning commission for a conditional use rezoning of county parcels 082-009 and 082-002 was submitted in early May by Tao Quoc Nguyen of Chatsworth.

The parcel, currently zoned A-1 agricultural, is located where Evergreen Road intersects with Nesbitt Loop, with Old Audubon Road running through part of the property. The land is currently owned by Springbank LLC. 

Nearby landowners have addressed concerns to county officials over the environmental impact as well as the possible depreciation of their property values. 

"We stand to lose some property value if the deal goes through," said Al Stone, who owns one of the many adjacent properties surrounding the property. He said he's been acting as an unofficial spokesman at the request of other nearby residents who oppose the planned operation. 

Stone says the property also has local historical significance. 

"The land is part of the original Audubon community named after John James Audubon," Stone said, adding that the community was established around 1825, about the same time as nearby New Echota, predating Gordon County by around a quarter century.

"Before Audubon, the area was called Oostanaulee by Native Americans," Stone said, adding that area in question has an abundance of history surrounding the Cherokee, early European exploration and area settlers, and even the Civil War. 

According to the application for rezoning of the 577.17 acres the plan calls for two dozen chicken houses to start. 

"I would like to purchase this property in order to build 24 broiler chicken houses, approximately 50 by 600 feet to begin with, then as many as will comply with U.L.D.C. regulations," Nguyen said in his application.

A copy of the Gordon County Unified Land Development Code, the document that dictates the local legalities of zonings, can be found online at gordoncounty.org

Stone said he doesn't have a problem with typical chicken farms like the ones already in the area, but is opposed to large concentrated animal feeding operations, especially those owned by foreign investors. 

"We have a lot of chicken operations in the area," Stone said. "Gordon County has an ideal climate for poultry, but an operation this large is different." 

Stone said he's even started a website edog.site with information for those who would like to know more about why he and others are against the proposal. 

The rezoning application will be part of the Gordon County Planning Commission's regularly scheduled meeting agenda on Monday, July 12, at 6 p.m.

That public meeting will be held either at the County Administrative Building, 201 N. Wall St., or the GEM Theatre across the street, depending on the number of citizens expected to attend. 

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