Sale of Port property to Table Rock approved
January 19, 2023
DAYTON–The Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners approved the sale of Port lots to Table Rock Meat Co. during a special meeting on January 11, 2023. After some discussion, amendments to the contract were made, then approved at a special meeting January 17, 2023.
A public hearing was advertised and scheduled during the regular Port of Columbia meeting on January 11 to consider authorizing the sale of two vacant lots in the Port's Rock Hill Industrial Park on Cameron Street at the request of Table Rock Meat Co. for the proposed construction of a USDA meat processing facility.
The hearing drew a full room of attendees in the Port's board room and more online. Comments were heard questioning the zoning of the proposed location with the facility being close to neighborhoods and The Club after-school program, as well as town being on the downwind side of prevailing winds. Concerns were expressed about fluid running down the street or into the sewer system. Port Executive Director Jennie Dickinson said that she confirmed the zoning with County Planner Dena Martin.
Owners Michelle Shoun with daughters Sierra Smith and Cheyanne Reed offered answers to the remaining concerns. They said other than unloading the animals, they plan for them to be entirely indoors and on the premises for no longer than 24 hours, but more likely only several hours. They have units to catch drainage which would then be discarded at the facility in Walla Walla or picked up for use by another company. They claimed the usual animal smell comes from where they are held, not the animals themselves and because the enclosed facility will be on a concrete foundation and the animals will be processed quickly, there will be no smell. They contrasted this to the typical odor of feed lots. They pointed out other meat processing facilities located in the city limits of Walla Walla and many others that process without odor or contamination.
Aileen Warren, who is not opposed to the facility but to the proposed location, shamed the Port Commissioners for their lack of common sense in pursuing the sale.
Glenn Warren questioned whether the facility could be located on the Blue Mountain Station property. Dickinson answered that the current zoning does not allow it and it would require a zone change. The Commissioners responded that they initially had similar concerns but after investigating them, they are confident that it would be well controlled.
Scott Marinella proposed they add covenants to the agreement that would stipulate operational requirements concerning odor and waste management. The Commissioners decided to amend the resolution with covenants added with the help of Port Attorney Kim Boggs at a special meeting on January 17. At the special meeting, the resolution to approve the sale with the added covenants was acceptable to the business owners and the Commission passed it unanimously.
It states that certain conditions must be met to be permitted by the City of Dayton that address all the public concerns. The Port requires them to follow all requirements of the permitting agencies, as well as keep the premises in good order with a "green strip" on the Cameron Street side of the property to provide for vegetation for sound barriers and aesthetics. They must be operational within one year of purchase and seek approval for the design of the perimeter fence. If these conditions are not met, the property may return to the Port and the money paid returned to the purchaser. The full resolution is available to read on the Port website.
The Port will proceed with having a purchase and sale agreement drafted as Table Rock Meat Co. continues to work through the permitting process.