Neighbors Sue ZBA Over Approved Slaughterhouse

A group of Tranquility Drive residents are suing the Zoning Board of Appeals after it refused last month to deny a permit to allow a slaughterhouse to operate on their street.

“We aren’t giving up on this thing, this is baloney,” said Joe Calzone, a Tranquility Drive resident who has led the fight against the slaughterhouse in his neighborhood. 

In May the five-member board voted 4 to 1 with conditions to uphold a permit to allow a 10-by-10 slaughterhouse with a sink and separate 1,500-gallon polyethylene tank, a tool shed, and two chicken coops to be built at 59 Tranquility Drive. Residents had appealed to the board to deny the permit citing environmental and health concerns as well as decreased property values.

So now residents are suing the ZBA. In a lawsuit filed in Bridgeport Superior Court the residents claim the ZBA’s decision to uphold the permit violates Connecticut law. A commercial poultry business is not a permitted use in the Residence B zoning district, the lawsuit claims. Nor are the slaughtering, processing, and packaging of chickens. The suit also claims that a commercial poultry business is not a permitted accessory use to a principal residential use, and that a slaughterhouse is not a permitted accessory structure to a principal residential structure.

 “This violates the most important mandate in the Easton zoning regulations, which is to protect the character and integrity of residential neighbors,” said Charles Willinger, the attorney for the residents. “We believe we have a strong case and we will vigorously prosecute it to a successful completion.”

Andrew Blum of Trumbull purchased the three-acre lot on 59 Tranquility Drive for $183,000 last year under the Connecticut State Police Barracks trust with the intent of operating a chicken farm. He finds the lawsuit a shame.

“It’s a shame that the neighbors are still fighting this and are not willing to have a reasonable discussion to keep the peace. I don’t like being at war,” said Blum, who currently lives in a 1,200-square-foot home he had built on the property.

The plaintiffs, who all live within one 100 feet of 59 Tranquility Drive , want the court to order the ZBA to revoke Blum’s zoning permit.

Blum still 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 limit the expansion of his business, and addresses environmental and health concerns such as the removal of toxic waste and by-products, and lighting.

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