Douglas Co. slaughterhouse: Commission unanimously denies appeal
MINDEN, Nev. — With roughly 400 people watching in person, Douglas County commissioners Wednesday night unanimously denied an appeal of a proposed slaughterhouse in Centerville.
Citing concerns about the flood plain and a septic system that state regulators said they would have to research, commissioners agreed Centerville was the wrong location.
Representatives of the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection acknowledged that they had never evaluated a recirculating vertical flow constructed wetlands system before.
About 400 people turned out for the meeting held at the CVIC Hall in Minden. There were more people than could safely fit in the hall, which has a limit of 290 and were set up outside in Minden Park with speakers, so they could follow the action.
Residents lined up out the door of the CVIC Hall to have their say in one of the best attended public meetings in Douglas County history.
Several Valley ranchers spoke in favor of the slaughterhouse.
Bently Heritage Ranch Manager Matt McKinney pointed out that what people were referring to as toxic was food.
“This is wholesome, healthful food,” he said. “This will be the most inspected facility in the county.”
Charlie Hone pointed out that if a meat-processing plant can’t go on the former Storke Dairy, than where can it go.
Russell Scossa pointed out that most of the homes in the vicinity have septic tanks.
Neighbor Shane Miller, a large animal veterinarian, however said that he was concerned about the potential pollution from the plant.
Miller said that at no point did proponent Karin Sinclair knock on his door, something her representative said she was frightened to do.
Most of the speakers during the nearly four-hour public comment period were opposed to the location of the slaughterhouse, though they recognized the need.
Residents pointed out that the purchase agreement with the owners of the Centerville property was contingent on the approval. Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie said Sinclair had standing to appeal a planning commission denial because she was representing the owner.
“This is the most beautiful part of Carson Valley, the opposition is in regard to the location at 88 and Centerville,” commissioner John Engels said. “This commissioner will cast no vote for the operation of this permit.”
Commissioner Wes Rice urged Sinclair to work with the Douglas County Farm Bureau to find an appropriate location for the slaughterhouse.
“They are hungry for a processing plant,” he said. I would like to see that happen. I just can’t get past it being the flood plain.”
County commissioners started their meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Public comment started out at 4 p.m. and wrapped up around 8 p.m. with scores of people getting to speak.
Sinclair does not own any property in Douglas County. She did file on the name Carson Valley Meats with the Secretary of State’s Office on July 1.
The R-C first reported on Sept. 4 that the proposal was scheduled to go before the Douglas County Planning Commission for a special use permit.
Meat processing plants are allowed in agricultural zoning with a permit under county code.
Planning commissioners deadlocked 3-3 at their Sept. 10 meeting until member Maureen Casey switched her vote to no so Sinclair could appeal the decision to county commissioners.
It has been just over two decades since Carson Valley Meat Co., was torn down to make way for Chichester Estates. Since then ideas such as a mobile slaughterhouse have been floated, but currently meat processing is being done in Fallon or by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Wolfpack Meats.
As of April 7, Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks received over 350 complaints about non-essential businesses remaining open. Compliance staff is investigating and giving initial courtesy notices — no citations have yet been given.