CAIRO — Grady County commissioners will hold an informational workshop within the next several weeks to discuss the prospect of ending the practice of constructing new chicken house operations, among other topics.
Commissioners initially placed a 90-day moratorium on the construction of new chicken houses in March and then extended it for another 90 days in May. Though there is no hard deadline on when a permanent decision on the matter will have to be made, County Administrator Buddy Johnson said he would like the commissioners to have a sense of what to do next before the moratorium expires Sept. 1.
“By all accounts, you would like to have some kind of idea of where you’re going by the end of that,” he said. “But as far as actually getting a new ordinance put in place or new zoning in place, that may take some time.”
No date has been set for the workshop, though Johnson said it will have to take place sometime before the September expiration.
The county administrator said he’s anticipating at least two hours of discussion will be needed to discuss how to limit the number of new chicken house operations being brought in from outside the county while also protecting local producers.
“How do we not punish them while trying to keep out these corporations that would just as soon come down here and drop 10 or 12 chicken houses,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of discussion around that and how we’re going to be able to get an ordinance that’ll do that.”
Johnson previously stated that Grady County has seen a “major influx” of chicken house permits issued within the past two years. Local residents say the smell and unsightliness of the operations, some of which have existed for years, negatively impacts property values.
Commissioners also will review several other ordinances at the workshop, such as regulations on noise levels.
“All of that stuff is outdated,” Johnson said. “It’s just got to be looked at.”
The county administrator was unsure of an exact list of ordinances which will be reviewed.