October 9, 2008
Slaughterhouse rehearing denied
The Zoning Board has denied a request for a rehearing of its Sept. 2 decision against a special exception for a Goffstown man who wants to build a slaughterhouse at his home for kosher and halal meat.
In his rehearing request dated Sept. 30, applicant Negash Abdelkader said he was told by the town clerk that he should apply for a special exception and not a variance. As a result of that advice, he said he has lost “considerable time, effort and money.”
He repeatedly charged that the Zoning Board had other motivations than the land use tables it had cited in the zoning ordinance, when it said, for technical reasons, that a variance was needed instead of a special exception, since Abdelkader will continue living on his 83 Joppa Hill Road property after the slaughterhouse is built.
Abdelkader claims the Zoning Board decision is “unfair and biased and is more political rather than based on principal use tables in the zoning ordinance” and it “was made based on the neighbors’ pressure from the town of Bedford.”
Neighbors, a number of them from Bedford, have circulated a petition opposing the slaughterhouse, which is several hundred feet away from the town line. The petitioners have objected to the smell and noise they say would be generated by the slaughterhouse, as well as the additional traffic and the potential for contamination.
He questions why the Zoning Board dragged the issue out over so many months and three meetings, informing him only at the last hearing, on Sept. 2, that he should apply for a variance instead of a special exception.
At the end of September, Abdelkader said his variance application would be filed “very soon” and he remained optimistic that he would prevail.
“Hopefully they will approve it and I will start building the slaughterhouse,” he said. The town still has not received an application for a variance.
In his two-page rehearing request, Abdelkader again emphasizes that his business would be small scale, catering not to the general public but instead to wholesale customers. He said he is prepared to manage the slaughterhouse and planned to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Abdelkader has said the slaughterhouse would be for his family, which follows Muslim dietary standards. But he said he would be welcoming of Christians and Jews who followed similar restrictions. Also, Abdelkader has said he is mindful of the concerns of his neighbors.
“As a Goffstown resident and taxpayer, my civil rights have been violated,” Abdelkader concluded in his request. “The proposed processing facility is located in an agricultural district, therefore, I respectfully appeal the decision by the Zoning Board.”