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Purdy residents speak out about broiler houses

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bill Roller, a Purdy resident representing the concerns of several residents, approached aldermen at Monday night's meeting to express concerns about two chicken houses under construction within a half of a mile of the city's western boundary. Roller provided a sample ordinance that, if adopted, would allow aldermen the opportunity to restrict "nuisances which are, or may be, injurious to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of [the city]." [Times Photo by Melonie Roberts]

Members of the Purdy City Council heard concerns about air quality issues that could impact city residents if construction on two chicken houses located less than half a mile from the city limits is completed.

Bill Roller, a Purdy resident representing several concerned citizens, approached aldermen at Monday night's meeting to express concerns about two broiler houses being built approximately three-tenths of a mile west of the city limits by John and Becky Thomas.

Construction is currently underway, and Roller asked aldermen to step in and prohibit the units from being completed before any more money and materials were spent on the project.

"I think these will be a nuisance to the town," Roller said. "I have no problem with people making a living, just not at the expense of a whole lot of other people."

Roller went on to provide documentation to aldermen detailing how close the chicken houses would be to the city limits and a sample ordinance that other communities have adopted to prohibit "nuisances which are, or may be, injurious to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of [the city]."

"You have the authority and responsibility to [act on behalf of] the citizens of Purdy," Roller continued. "The city can solve this problem before it impacts so many people. I, for one, am not wanting to sit at a summertime ball game and smell chickens."

Roller said that he and others have suggested that the owners purchase another piece of property to build the units on, and offered their help in finding a suitable location.

"Time is of the essence," Roller said. "When the snow melts and the mud dries, they will move more dirt and proceed. You are not doing those folks a favor to let them proceed."

Mayor Ron Dutra listened to Roller's concerns and expressed his own.

"I hate to tell people what they can or can't do on their own property," Dutra said.

"We will have to run this through our attorney," added Alderman Ken Real, indicating the sample ordinance. "I don't think this was written well. This leaves the city open to a pretty large lawsuit. We would have to prove [that operation] is injurious to the people of the City of Purdy. At this point, we don't know what that means."

Dutra read a letter from the Thomases stating that the units were to be constructed to Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Department of Conservation standards and would incorporate the latest in tunnel ventilation systems. The couple also advised in their letter that they would be planting trees to serve as a windbreak and shelter, which would also serve as a method of odor control.

"I've talked to the people at Tyson's," Roller said. "The property manager said it won't smell bad most of the time. It's that 'most' that worries me. What happens if a whole wall of houses go in on that side of town and that 'once in awhile' becomes 'most of the while?'"

Purdy resident Jim Moore spoke to aldermen as the group was leaving following their presentation.

"If anything can be done, it needs to be done," Moore said. "I like John. If we can help him, we'd like to help him."

In other business, it was a busy month of January for the Purdy Police Department, which included Chief Jackie Lowe being assaulted by a woman accused of trespassing.

On Jan. 21, Lowe received a call from an individual at 204 Gabby Gibbons Dr. stating that two women were banging on the door and making threats to the caller. When Lowe arrived, the caller stated that she wanted to file trespass charges on both women.

At that point one of the women, Lorri J. Mooney, 42, of Purdy, charged up the stairs and attempted to enter the residence and assault the complainant. When Lowe attempted to restrain the subject, she began her assault upon him. Mooney was arrested and taken to Barry County Sheriff's Department for a 12-hour self-protection hold.

Lowe also reported about the first incident in Purdy of a new national trend.

Lowe responded to the scene of a medical call where it was discovered a 56-year-old male had reportedly smoked a type of potpourri known as "Groove" before he collapsed and stopped breathing. The victim was life-flighted to a Springfield hospital.

"This is a new phenomena going around the country," Lowe said. "Since K-2 [synthetic marijuana] was banned, people have taken to smoking this potpourri, which is not meant for human consumption, and inhaling bath salts. It's a new thing, and we hadn't seen it in Purdy until now."

The case is currently under investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

In final business, Alderman Real asked the council to consider enacting a snow removal emergency plan for the City of Purdy. He offered samples from other cities outlining plans for their individual municipalities.

Aldermen reviewed the plans and determined that it would be a good idea to create a similar plan for the City of Purdy, so residents would know what actions would be taken in the event of another large snow event.

The next regular meeting of the Purdy City Council will be at 5:30 p.m. on March 14 at City Hall.

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