A year later, slaughterhouse denial still in court

Friday marked a year since Douglas County commissioners denied an appeal of a permit to allow a slaughterhouse on a former Centerville dairy.

A lawsuit is in the hands of Senior Judge Janet Berry, who as of Thursday had not issued a ruling or set another hearing.

Sinclair Meats’ Karin Sinclair is seeking to overturn a decision that would prevent her from operating a small meat processing plant on the former Storke Dairy.

Under Douglas County code meat processing is permitted on agriculturally zoned land with a special use permit.

More than 100 people spoke at a Nov. 13, 2019, hearing where commissioners heard an appeal of a 4-2 planning commission decision to deny the permit. Planning commissioners were actually deadlocked, but shifted the vote after being told some decision would be required for an appeal to move forward.

Among Sinclair’s challenges to the decision are that an email sent by Larry Walsh to residents and cc’d to planning and county commissioners violated the open meeting law.

Berry sought a legal opinion on whether commissioners were allowed to hear testimony from outside experts during the hearing.

The last movement on the case was an Oct. 8 order where Berry denied an attempt to add an Aug.13 column written by a neighbor that was published by The Record-Courier and a gofundme account that proved residents were raising money for outside experts.

She is wading through the recordings of the two meetings and the 1,600-page record of the case.

Even if Berry rules against the county, and that ruling survives appeal, the issue would likely return to county commissioners for a new hearing.


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