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City urged to modify zoning on Silver Street

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A vacant building at 701 Silver Street in Delta is being eyed for a chicken processing facility, to the dismay of neighbors living across the street. Barry Vollmert and his wife JoAnn circulated a petition urging Delta City Council to repeal the portion of the zoning regulations that allows agricultural products processing -- including chickens -- as a use by right in the industrial zone.

Most of the west side of Silver Street is zoned industrial, which allows a wide range of uses.

The Vollmerts would also like sawmills/planing facilities and sexually oriented businesses to be prohibited, as well. They are also uses by right.

Since the proposed use is permissible under the zoning regulations, city manager Glen Black says the prospective owner is not required to obtain planning commission or council approval.

The building is owned by Producers Co-op and was most recently used as a transportation center by Meadow Gold. It is just off the alternate truck route.

The Vollmerts say they've been good neighbors with industrial businesses in the area for 35 years, though they say they've occasionally had reason to complain.

"But now that all the tenants are gone from this block of land, it is an ideal time to repeal some of the allowed uses in this I-1 zoned district," Vollmert said in a written statement to Delta City Council. "When this land was zoned to its current uses, it was a different time and Delta was a desperate town."

Delta County Economic Development director Trish Thibodo confirms DCED has been working with an out-of-area individual who is interested in establishing a chicken/turkey processing facility in the county.

In a presentation to Delta City Council, Thibodo said at full production, the facility would process 9,000 birds per day and employ 30. (A previous DCI report erroneously stated the facility would process 1.3 million birds per week, which Thibodo mentioned only as a scale of reference for a large industrial operation.)

The Vollmerts are concerned about adverse effects including smells, noise from caged birds, unsightly blowing of feathers around town, health risks to employees and nearby residents, and property values.

"We are not anti-jobs or anti-business folks," Vollmert told the council. "We would support a facility such as this if it were located outside of town and preferably downwind from city limits.

"The whole idea of having DCED try to bring businesses to Delta is fine. But they need to get businesses to come to our downtown area that are compatible, sustainable and that help to further Delta as a modern, clean town that would make people want to live here, build a business in, raise a family in, or simply enjoy their stay here and not make them step on the gas and go on down the road to GJ or Montrose!"

Vollmert left council with the petition signed by residents of 30 addresses.

"Nothing is concrete," said Thibodo. "They're just looking at this area."

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