Business & Finance

Zoning Board Denies Plainfield Slaughterhouse Plan

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Plainfield City Hall Credits: Jeff Spelman
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A Plainfield business owner’s wish to use his basement for slaughter of chickens, pigs, sheep and goats was denied Wednesday by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Owner Vadrajan Naicken, who formerly operated a liquor store at the site on West Front Street near Clinton Avenue, appeared before the board with attorney Walter Abrams, planner Richard Lapinski and prospective employee James Valentin.

Valentin, who said he worked 14 years at a live chicken store, told the board how he managed 1,000 to 5,000 chickens as well as rabbits and ducks at a Madison Avenue location. He said they were kept in pens that were cleaned with bleach three times a day. Refuse was treated with bleach and other chemicals for collection three times a week. Sales reached 1,500 to 2,000 a day toward weekends, he said. But Valentin said he had not yet visited Naicken’s site.

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Members of the board and public had many questions, such as how customers of an adjacent Dunkin’ Donuts would be affected by deliveries of birds and animals and how smells would be contained in the neighborhood. Valentin described the ventilation system at his former job.

 Lapinski gave a detailed description of Naicken’s site and said it is suited for the operation. He said his research showed Plainfield’s population is 52 percent foreign-born, of that 70 percent being Caribbean who, he said, prefer fresh-killed meat. ZBA Chairman D. Scott Belin took exception to Lapinski’s characterization and later board member Ian Marshall said his family is Caribbean and half are vegetarians.

Lapinski also said the site was “partly derelict” and “constitutes an eyesore in its present condition” but that it could become productive.

But in public comment resident Lorraine Johnson said “Mr. Jimmy” (Naicken) has not controlled his businesses and asked the board to deny his application.

Naicken’s liquor license was denied in 2013 for drug-related charges and he lost it on appeal in 2016.

Resident Will Underwood said garbage would be a problem in summer heat, and resident Nancy Piwowar said smells will attract wild animals from a nearby county park.

Board member Robert Graham raised the issue of whether the meat would be halal (permissible under Islamic law) if pigs were slaughtered along with chickens and other animals, and called the proposal “out of touch.” Among other comments as the board voted unanimously to deny the application, board member Mary Burgwinkle borrowed a phrase on business viability and said, “If there’s ever been a poster child for execution risk, this is it.”

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