The proposed ordinance to rezone our ag lands for slaughterhouses should be rejected, or, at least, delayed for further consideration. As a career farmer who has transported product to buyers and resellers for nearly 20 years, it is almost insulting to hear that it is too much of a burden to need to transport farm product a few miles to facilities that could be sited on Rural Industrial Management-zoned land where there is oversight and access to municipal sewage. We're talking about businesses. They should be able to figure out how to make the trip, rather than rezoning the entire county to accommodate them.
Changing the zoning should be difficult. There should be a high bar. People invest their entire life savings and life work into properties in the county, and it is important for businesses to have some certainty as to the zoning that they will be operating under and living within.
By limiting the permitting of slaughter facilities to conditional and accessory use only on agricultural lands, it would mean that it would be on a case-by-case basis and would be required to be on the same land as a complimentary land-based farming operation.
People and businesses in Whatcom County need and deserve the kind of certainty offered by a stable zoning system in order to invest confidently and successfully in a life here. Change the zoning when it is really needed, but please don't do it on a whim as this seems to be.