Cumberland County debates new poultry plant

The Assoicated Press

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FAYETTEVILLE — Residents who live near a Cumberland County site being considered for a $113 million poultry plant are divided.

Some residents say if Sanderson Farms builds the massive new plant, property values will drop, especially because of the odor that come with poultry plants.

But other residents say the up to 1,000 new jobs the plant could bring is worth the inconvenience.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that a forum will be held Tuesday to discuss the possible new plant. There will also have to be public hearings on the tax incentives that should be given to Sanderson Farms if they decide to build the plant in Cedar Creek, a small community east of Interstate 95 on the Cape Fear River.

Sanderson Farms is looking at a 500-acre site in an industrial park, and officials said any potential plant is comparable to a $120 million complex the company opened in Kinston.

Farmer Justin Smith owns land around the plant. He said he isn’t against the poultry plant, but doesn’t think the proposed location is the right place in Cumberland County.

“The bottom line is that in Kinston, there’s no homes around it,” Smith said

John Jackson supports the new poultry plant. He said residents should have known all types of industry could move into the industrial park Sanderson Farms is considering when the site was developed.

“I don’t understand,” Jackson said. “They put an industrial park down there and as soon as a company wants to come in there, they want to fuss about it. About anything you put in on the industrial line, it’s going to smell.”

But that smell has some people worried it could stifle any development in the area, especially If the odor floats over to the exit leading to Cedar Creek on I-95. Many people are aware of other poultry plants in the area, including a Smithfield Packing plant in Clinton that has about 1,750 workers.

“They need to put businesses out here, but not no chicken place,” April Royal said. “It’s going to smell like Clinton after a while.”