Uproot Meats, located on the south end of Ashland, applied to Jackson County Development Services Planning Division for a Type 2 permit to move the existing approved homesite parcel to the location where owners had already constructed a building to be a hog/chicken slaughter facility without land use approval or building permits. Uproot was granted a tentative approval with a window for appeal. Neighbors and other residents of the Rogue Valley appealed the tentative approval. A hearing was held in the Jackson County Auditorium on July 15, 2019. The hearing was well-attended by those opposing the application. Each person in the room had the opportunity to submit oral testimony supporting their opposition. The applicant was not present, but was represented by a single individual, Mr. Bob Hart of Bob Hart Consulting LLC. No others in support of applicant were present.
Following a four-week open-record period post-hearing, Hearings Officer Pearce released his written 33-page Decision and Final Order. The appeal was granted and the application denied.
To summarize the decision, according to the Hearings Officer, the senior development planner misinterpreted the definitions of “standards” and “criteria” and therefore failed to apply Land Development Ordinances 4.2.6(H)(1)(2) and (3) which were applicable to the application.
4.2.6 (1) Won’t force a significant change on nearby lands*
4.2.6 (2) Won’t materially alter the stability of the overall land use pattern of the area*
4.2.6 (3) Will be situated on generally unsuitable land for the production of farm crops and livestock*
Opponents presented testimony regarding each of these ordinances despite their omission by planning staff. Neighbors have grave concerns about the negative effects that Uproot Meats has already caused and how the operation has adversely affected their farming practices.
Uproot Meats has 21 days to appeal this latest decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals if they choose to do so.
This is the second application submitted to Jackson County by Uproot Meats that was appealed by concerned citizens. The first was for a Type 3 permit to operate a slaughterhouse on the steep eroding hillside just above the Ashland Canal of the Talent Irrigation District. That application was also denied and the appeal granted.
In the interim, Uproot has been assessed with violations from Jackson County and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). A fine of $6,500 was assessed by Jackson County for a number of violations, including lack of building permits, lack of grading permits, and illegal occupancy. Owners were required to hire an engineering firm to attempt to stabilize the hillside that they decimated by extensive grading for the construction of an un-permitted marijuana grow which has since been abandoned. The DEQ issued Uproot a Class I violation for contaminating waters of the state (the TID Canal). The amount of the DEQ fine has not yet been determined, but will not exceed $100,000.
Denise Krause, Ashland