Greene Road residents upset about chicken house construction
Lack of parish-wide zoning blamed for location of chicken houses
“This whole thing got shoved down everybody’s throat down here,” Shane Griffith said of chicken houses being built near his home on Greene Road in rural Webster Parish near Dixie Inn.
“Our property value has dropped. They’re putting 16 chicken houses in. Eight on one side and eight on the other. The smell, the disease, everything that goes along with it. It’s got everybody concerned out here,” Griffith said.
Griffith, who is an officer with the Minden Police Department speaks as a concerned citizen in the area which is outside of any municipality.
“There’s a creek that runs through that property. We’re concerned that that creek runs into Dorcheat. There’s contaminants. The traffic is unbelievable, the big trucks coming in and out 24 hours a day. It’s noisy all night long,” Griffith said.
Griffith said he and his neighbors have contacted the Webster Parish Police Jury multiple times about the issues they face. Police Jury member, Bernard Hudson represents the area.
“When I first got notified about the chicken houses, I didn’t know about it. People in the community got on me about it. They wanted to know could the Police Jury stop them from building the chicken houses over there. I told them no, because anybody who’s got any kind of industry or land, if they’ve got the right permits, they can do anything they want on it,” Hudson said.
Police Jury president Jim Bonsall said he was contacted when the permitting process began for the chicken houses after reviewing the paperwork submitted, Bonsall said there was nothing the Police Jury could do about the new business entering the area.
“They have the right just like anyone to build this stuff out there. The reason they have the right is because there is no zoning in Webster Parish. I can’t tell you what to do with your property and you can’t tell me what to do with my property. That’s just the way it is,” Bonsall said.
The jury was contacted again about mud on the roads. The roads were cleaned off by a local fire department and the contractors on the site were charged for the expenses. They were also notified that they must have gravel on their drives for 75 feet.
“The evening after they cleaned the roads off, the roads were terrible again because there’s so much mud on the location that when the big trucks come out, they track all of the mud back out. There’s been damage to my vehicle, my wife’s vehicle, another gentlemen’s truck hit a big dirt clod and it tore a $500 line on his transmission,” Griffith said.
The citizens of the community held a meeting recently at a church in the area about the chicken houses. Shane Griffith’s father, Mike Griffith, also lives near the construction site. He was concerned that Hudson did not attend the meeting.
“He can at least answer some of our questions and tell us what’s going on. Maybe have a representative from these chicken house people, whoever they are because we’ve got concerns like disposal of dead chickens. We’ve got some concerns about the smell of the chickens. We’ve got concerns about how many people are going to be over there running that place. Are they going to be people set up in trailer houses, what kind of people are they? Are they going to be people that are over here legally or are they illegal,” Mike Griffith said.
Hudson said when he heard concerns from the citizens, he went to Pittsburg, Texas to visit the owners of the developing chicken houses to get more information.
“They told me about the chicken houses. The people in my community were worried about the smell. I asked them about the smell, and I walked right by the chicken houses and I didn’t smell them. I really didn’t see anything wrong with the chicken houses themselves,” Hudson said, “The only thing that we really had trouble with was the road.”
Shane Griffith says he hopes new legislation can be passed to change the lack of zoning within Webster Parish.
“I know there’s nothing we can do about it but if the police jury doesn’t have zoning to do something about it, I think it should be put on the books to where the next time this happens, it can’t happen for any other community,” Griffith said.