Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Planning Commission gives thumbs down to beef plant rezoning

Some background: The Kansas City Beef Company has been in operation since June of last year, packaging beef that is slaughtered off site. The company is asking for rezoning that would allow them to slaughter on site in south Butler. 

The Butler planning commission
held a public hearing this evening (third time's a charm) online via Zoom regarding the operation of the Kansas City Beef Company and their request for rezoning. Present were the commission, Nate Yoder (co-owner of Kansas City Beef), his attorney Scott Friedrich, Butler city attorney Joe Lauber, Mayor Henry, several citizens and a few others as well.

As the hearing opened, Joe Lauber pointed out that based on the outcome of tonight's meeting, any recommendation by the planning commission will be handed to the city council- who will have the ultimate say whether or not Kansas City Beef will be granted a rezoning request that would allow them to slaughter on site as well as package as they are now.

Attorney Friedrich took the floor and affirmed that Kansas City Beef is indeed currently operating within their legal rights. Carcasses come to the plant pre gutted, ready for cutting, packaging and all guidelines are being followed per the Missouri DNR and other governing agencies. He also went on to say that his client believes there is indeed a need for this type of service, as in some cases it may take up to a year to get it done locally otherwise.

Co-owner Yoder also spoke, saying that the operation should not be considered a rendering or packing plant; but a meat locker instead. He went on to say that a grease trap interceptor and holding tank will be installed to insure that no waste from the plant will enter a local streams or harm the groundwater in the area. He also emphasized that all USDA, Missouri DNR and rules of the city's conditional use permit are (and would be) strictly followed if the zoning request is honored.

As the hearing opened for public comment, Curry Sexton, attorney for the Deems Family Trust took the lead against the proposed slaughter operation citing it would have a grossly negative impact on the local hospital, school, football field, golf course and residences due to noise, air and water pollution. He went on to say that there is an ordinance the prohibits putting certain types of waste in the city sewer system; and believes the company has been out of compliance on several issues since they began operation. 

One other public comment questioned whether or not the city would change zoning 'on the spot' for future businesses as well. 

At the close of the meeting the planning commission voted 8-1 to not allow rezoning. However, that is a recommendation as the Butler City Council will have final say in the matter. 

The council will meet March 16th, 7 pm. 

It has been noted that as Kansas City Beef began operation last year, it appeared the location was zoned for slaughter, but later discovered it was not, due to an error in interpretation of a map which lead to the current discussion of rezoning.

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