Feral hog plant still interested in Rockdale site

‘If we can’t stop it, embrace the jobs that are coming,’ mayor says
Reporter Editor

A feral hog processing plant, which was rejected by the Rockdale City Council in August over concerns about odor, appears headed for Rockdale after all.

Troy Davenport, representing Wild Boar Meat Company, told The Reporter on Tuesday, the company is following through on purchasing property near the corner of Beverly Drive and Hickory Street in south Rockdale.

But its holding and slaughter facility will now only be in that portion outside the city limits, in Rockdale’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

Last month, when the holding and slaughter facility was proposed to straddle the city limits line, Wild Boar asked the city council for amendments to a pair of city ordinances, without which the facility could not have operated inside Rockdale.

Wild Boar’s offices can still be located inside the city without having the ordinance being amended.

‘ EMBR ACE’—Mayor John King, who had expressed reservations about the project last month, said it looks like the city can’t do anything to keep Wild Boar Meat from acquiring property and constructing the plant in the configuration now proposed.

King said he believes the best reaction by residents would be to “embrace Wild Boar and the jobs it has indicated it will bring to town.”

Even though the processing site is in Rockdale’s ETJ, city officials don’t see any action which could be taken to prohibit construction, which could start within a month.

King said, assuming the company follows through with plans to purchase the site and construct the facility, the city’s responsibility will be to work with Wild Boar to minimize any odor and drainage problems.

Currently there are city water and sewer lines near the site. Davenport said Wild Boar will pay to have those lines extended to serve its facility.

VOTE—In August, Davenport said Wild Boar was planning purchase of the site that straddled the city limits.

He said part of the facility would be inside the city limits with a holding plant outside the city. Davenport said city water and wastewater was a consideration in determining the location.

He said the operation would also buy wild hogs, if certain federal standards are met, and would pay over market price.

He said the facility would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to slaughter 50 animals a day.

Davenport said a U. S. Department of Agriculture representative would be on hand full time.

He said the facility would initially employ 13 to 14 persons—“ all but one of them local”— and was envisioned to grow to the 20-25 job range within a year.

Davenport said pay would be $15 an hour.

LIFE QUALITY— But a majority of the city council members saw the situation in terms of quality of life, not economics.

King expressed reservations over the odor generated by such a facility and potential drainage problems with runoff from the plant area.

“Our prevailing winds in Rockdale come from the south and they’re going to take the odor right over town,” he said.

“There’s a creek bed in the area you’re talking about,” King said. “Occasionally it overflows and I’m concerned about what might get in it.”

Two council visitors spoke out against the proposed facility. Realtor Judith Matula said she was concerned property in Rockdale wouldn’t sell once the plant, and the odor, started up.

VOTES—A motion by councilman Nathan Bland, to grant the amendments required to allow such an enterprise within the city limits, died for lack of a second.

The ordinances were then upheld by a 3-1 vote with only Bland voting against.

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2013-10-03 digital edition

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