Despite opposition from homeowners, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a permit to allow a chicken farm equipped with a slaughterhouse to operate on Tranquility Drive.
The five-member board voted 4 to 1 with conditions to allow a 10-by-10 slaughterhouse with a sink and separate 1,500-gallon polyethylene tank, a tool shed, and two chicken coops are to be built at 59 Tranquility Drive.
Earlier this month residents packed Samuel Staples Elementary School, urging the board to reject a permit approved last year by Philip Doremus, Easton’s zoning enforcement officer, allowing for the slaughterhouse to be built on the property. Residents are concerned about noxious odors and the effect on their property values if the slaughterhouse and chicken farm are allowed to operate.
Alternate board member Tom Dollard voted in favor of the resident’s appeal to rescind the permit. Board members Raymond Ganim, James Wright, and alternate Charlies Lynch, and John Harris voted to uphold the permit.
Either side can appeal the board’s decision in Superior Court, Harris said.
Joe Calzone, a Tranquility Drive resident who led the fight opposing the slaughterhouse, said he was disappointed and aggravated by the board’s vote. Calzone, through his attorney, argued to the board that the permit for the slaughterhouse was approved as an accessory use to the principal residential use of the property, which is not allowed under local zoning regulations
“We are going to take a few days to let it all sink in and decide as a group if we want to continue to fight against this,” Calzone said.
Andrew Blum purchased the 3-acre lot on 59 Tranquility Drive for $183,000 last year. Originally from Trumbull, he built a 1,200-square-foot home built on the property with the intent of operating a chicken farm where he’ll keep about 170 chickens, sell their eggs at farm stands and the meat to restaurants.
“It’s definitely the outcome I wanted, I still plan on being a good neighbor. I’m moving forward with it. I’m not going to bother anyone. I just want to be left alone. They won’t even now I’m there,” Blum said.
After Blum builds the slaughter house he needs final approval from the State Department of Agriculture to slaughter the chickens. He also needs to follow the conditions the zoning board of appeals put on his permit, which limits the expansion of his business, addresses environmental and health concerns such as the removal of toxic waste and by products, and lighting.
Beth Saunders, a Realtor, called the vote “disgusting.”
“It was totally unjustified and very sad for the neighbors and the town of Easton. Four men just changed Easton, they showed no concern at all,” she said.