Letter to the editor: Wayne Farms not initially forthcoming

Published 9:06 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

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To the editor:
As members of the Davie NAACP Political Action Committee, we appreciate a number of things, as it relates to our experience, working for justice with Wayne Farms. In last week’s article, the statement was made the company, which purchased the J.P. Green Milling Co. property, requested a zoning change to make the feed mill plant “. . . more efficient and appealing to neighbors.” This statement is only partially true. It was not until the Mocksville Town Board initially voted to delay the company’s rezoning request, and Wayne Farms’ subsequent request for a second delay, that the company shared its plans to make the area aesthetically appealing. Also missing is the fact that a special purpose zoning request allows for uses that may constitute health and safety hazards or diminish the enjoyment of nearby property owners due to some specified, unsettling nuisances.
Only the attorney for Wayne Farms spoke in favor of the rezoning request when we first appeared before the town board in August. We appreciate the board’s vote at that first meeting to delay the request based on the comments of those of us in the community who spoke against it. This allowed us time to contact agencies and experts on the state and federal levels; we appreciate the kind assistance we received in the form of training and gathering data. The vote, also, allowed Wayne Farms time to come up with a more comprehensive, impressive presentation. The fact is, until the community inquired, no concrete plans had been made to improve the appearance of the rezoned area.
We are most grateful for the support of the citizens who showed their concern for the East Depot Street area residents. Your time spent gathering names on the petition, your presence at the town board meetings, your willingness to share your perspective, your continuous prayers, and your hours in attendance at community meetings made a difference we can build on for future incidents.
Although our, one and only, request during the Oct. 5 meeting for a delay was denied, our efforts to engage positively with Wayne Farms will continue. Contrary to Mayor Marklin’s assertion that the group was seeking a quid pro quo, our request for a delay was to ensure that the E. Depot Street community would not be adversely impacted. We wholeheartedly believe a formal Community Benefits Agreement with Wayne Farms is not too much to ask for. It is the E. Depot Street area residents, Churches, and business owners who will have to live with the consequences that come with having a feed mill operating in their community, yet once again.
Sharon Anderson, Chair, Bermuda Run
Alice G. Brown, Paulette Rhynehardt