Zoning exception application withdrawn for planned animal processing plant

The Planning Commission honored the applicant’s request after dozens of area residents voiced opposition to the Northwest Jacksonville project.

Residents attending the Jacksonville Planning Commission meeting April 18, many to protest plans for an animal processing facility.
Residents attending the Jacksonville Planning Commission meeting April 18, many to protest plans for an animal processing facility.
Photo by J. Brooks Terry
  • Government
  • Share

The agent for the property owner seeking a zoning exception to build an animal processing facility in Northwest Jacksonville withdrew the application April 18 at a Jacksonville Planning Commission meeting after dozens of area residents voiced opposition to the project.

The commission voted unanimously to honor the withdrawal request.

It also voted unanimously to waive bylaws that require a written request to withdraw applications for exceptions, variances and waivers to the city’s zoning code.

“We’re not here to make people unhappy or upset,” applicant Andre Bahri of Prestige Properties told the commission.

Bahri is the agent for Detroit-based Whitaker Estates Management LLC, owner of the 7709 Woodley Road property west of New Kings Road.

A 25,000-square-foot animal processing facility was proposed on approximately 2 acres of land at 7709 Woodley Road off New Kings Road in Northwest Jacksonville.

Bahri said he had spoken to three residents who live near the site of the proposed facility, a 25,000-square-foot metal building. 

The area is in an agriculture zoning district and on the western edge of a light industrial area with salvage and manufacturing facilities and a trucking company.

“I was expecting maybe three people today. That’s all I heard from before I came here,” Bahri said.

Seeing dozens of dozens of angry residents at the meeting, Bahri initially sought to defer the vote on the application so he could do more community outreach before the commission’s May 9 meeting. 

It was denied.

During public comment, neighbors objected to the noise, smells and traffic the processing center would bring, along with its potential effect on property values.

The plant is connected to Apna Bazar, which offers Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, South Indian, Middle Eastern and English foods in its full-service grocery store at 11173 Beach Blvd. A food counter operation is connected to the grocery. Similar establishments named Apna Bazar or Apna Bazaar operate in several Florida cities.

The grocer’s products include halal meats, which are processed in accordance with Islamic law. 

Before Bahri’s withdrawal, a staff report recommended denying the application, saying “the intensity and scale of the project is not consistent with the intent of the (Jacksonville) 2045 Comprehensive Plan.”

According to the plan, developments within agricultural zones must not attract urban sprawl, spin-off urban development or, “may not be a desirable activity” within the area or neighboring districts.

It specifically cites racetracks, solid waste management facilities, power plants, airports and animal processing facilities, also called slaughterhouses, as not being permissible developments in agricultural zoning districts.

The report also determined the processing facility’s scale is not an appropriate transition from homes built to the west and could be at risk of creating, “objectionable or excessive noise, lights, vibrations, fumes, odors, dust or physical activities” and have overall have negative impacts on the residential community.”

Bahri said he plans to find a site “more appropriate” and restart the application process.



Special Offer: $5 for 2 Months!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.