UPDATE: We have received a copy of the circuit court complaint which you can read here.
Ten City of Alexandria property owners, businesses and residents have filed a circuit court complaint challenging the City’s March 26, 2019 approval of a Special Use Permit (SUP), which grants DC Poultry Market Corporation permission to operate a slaughterhouse/live poultry market at 3225 Colvin Street.
The complaint claims that council’s decision to allow the operation of a full-scale, 7-day a week slaughterhouse involving the storage of between 200-500 poultry per day, will have deleterious impacts on neighboring businesses and nearby residents. The complaint argues that the City failed to thoroughly analyze these impacts and also failed to adhere to certain requirements and procedures found in its own charter and zoning ordinance. Complainants also state that the decision threatens surrounding businesses and residential areas by reducing the value, use, and enjoyment of their properties, by interfering with their quality of life and operation of their businesses and by exposing them to noxious odors and harmful biological and environmental contaminants.
City Council approved the slaughterhouse SUP by a 5-2 vote on March 26, after an earlier vote on the use (at Council’s March 16 public hearing) failed to pass for lack of a second on the motion to approve, and the item was deferred. Among other concerns, speakers opposed to the slaughterhouse raised concerns about odors and waste removal, as well as increased traffic and parking problems in a corridor already burdened with standstill rush-hour traffic and limited on-street parking. Those in support of the use cited their need for a “halal” slaughterhouse closer to their homes, as the nearest one was in Warrenton, Virginia. When asked, a number of the proponents admitted that they were not Alexandria residents, but lived in Falls Church, Annandale, and Baileys Crossroads.
Although Colvin Street area is in an industrial zone, this zone includes numerous commercial and personal services businesses, restaurants, and a commercial bakery. The zone is part of the Duke Street-Taylor Run Small Area Plan, which includes light industrial uses, commercial businesses, schools, soccer fields, and residential housing. The slaughterhouse building backs directly up to properties along Duke Street, on which are found more restaurants, retail and commercial uses, offices, and a large shopping complex known as Alexandria Commons. Before granting an SUP, the City’s zoning ordinance requires Council to determine whether the location is appropriate for the use and whether the proposed use will be designed and operated as to avoid, minimize or mitigate any potential adverse effects on the neighborhood as a whole or other properties in the vicinity.
The Alliance for a Slaughter-Free Alexandria is a grassroots organization made up of citizens and property and business owners throughout Alexandria, who are opposed to a slaughterhouse operating at this location specifically and question whether the use is appropriate in an urban and congested environment such as the city of Alexandria. Members also include those who are dedicated to promoting animal welfare including the humane treatment of all animals, including poultry. Currently, the Alliance is sponsoring a petition in opposition of the slaughterhouse and is asking that the SUP be rescinded.
Over 450 people have signed the petition in less than a week.