Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Square poultry plant was village's choice for grant 

A state grant of $1.6 million directed to a proposed poultry slaughterhouse in New Square was the choice of the municipality, a state official said Wednesday.

The Empire State Development agency provided the grant in 2009 under the the Restore NY program, which no longer exists. Several Rockland state and federal lawmakers wrote letters of support at the time.

A spokesman for Empire State Development, Jason Conwall, said Wednesday that the agency did not control the choice of the project. He said the chief criteria were whether it promoted economic development and created jobs. He noted the grant was 5 years old and said he did not know the exact "thought process" that went into approving it.

Protests about the planned plant in a residential area bordering New Hempstead and New City have followed since New Square announced the project. The state grant would cover more than half the $3 million cost of the 26,500-square-foot plant being built by New Square based Adir Poultry.

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, has sent a letter to Kenneth Adams, the director of the Empire State Development Board of Directors, asking it to rescind the grant at its upoming June board meeting. He said his letter has been signed by more than 2,000 residents.

Zebrowski contends the project is potentially hazardous to residents and the environment. He said the 2009 grant was originally intended to finance improvements to an existing plant in New Square. The federal government later closed that plant down, saying it was unsanitary and processing uninspected poultry for sale.

He maintains the board can rescind the grant if a project fails to proceed as planned in timely manner.

Called Heritage Park, the plant would process 5,000 chickens a day during a 21-hour-work day starting at 5 a.m., according to the operator's plans. It would be built at the intersection of Apta Boulevard and Tetiyuz Way, across from Rovitz Place in New Square. The size is down from an originally proposed 50,000-square-foot facility. The plant would provide kosher chickens for sale to stores within the Hasidic Jewish community.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, a former supporter whose district includes New Square, also came out against the plant this month.


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