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Big Turn Out for Big Chicken House Hearing in Wicomico County

Don Rush

The prospect of big chicken house operations in Wicomico county drew a large audience at the Youth and Civic Center last night.

It was last chance for many of the residents who are concerned about the impact of these large operations on local developments to speak to the County Council before they make their decision on the proposed regulations.

Residents have been critical of two proposed projects including one just north of Salisbury along Naylor Mill Road.

Eddie Johnson got up to the microphone to call on the county to keep these projects from moving forward.

“Neither of these poultry operations have begun construction. No dirt has been moved. One farm has its permit issued…And the other seems to be on hold or in a redesign status.”

He added, “I request that the county council and the poultry companies involved, which is Perdue and Tysons Foods, to work out a means for the as yet to be built poultry farms inside the metro core boundary be relocated to a different site in the county.”

Residents said they were concerned about air pollution as well as health issues.

Credit Don Rush
Sign by opponents outside the hearing

And in the case of the Naylor Mill project potential damage to the Paleo Channel aquifer.

Farmers called the new regulations a fair compromise.  

The regulations for new chicken houses would require 200-foot setbacks from all property lines and must be 400 feet from existing houses and similar structures. 

Don Rush is the News Director and Senior Producer of News and Public Affairs at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.