UPDATE: Lawsuit dropped to block Walker County chicken plant
A group of Walker County residents have dropped their suit against the county and a chicken processing plant company over a possible business deal.
UPDATE: The McLemore Cove Preservation Society announced Wednesday morning that they are dropping a lawsuit against Walker County and Pilgrim’s Pride.
The lawsuit was filed in an attempt to block the chicken processing plant from opening a facility in McLemore Cove, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The group launched a formal protest against Pilgrim’s Pride last week called “Don’t Slaughter Our Cove.” The group says they will continue their efforts to ensure industry does not go into the protected cove.
“Although we immediately received overwhelming universal support when we announced the Don’t Slaughter Our Cove Initiative last week, we felt that dropping the lawsuit was in the best interest of Walker County and its citizens to productively move forward,” said Ruth Almeter, a resident and spokesperson for the group. “We are hopeful that a chicken plant is not going into McLemore Cove.”
PREVIOUS STORY: Walker County residents have filed an injunction against the county. Many community members say they are concerned about a potential business moving into the area.
The McLemore Cove Preservation Society wants to stop an anticipated chicken processing facilities from buying property in the McLemore cove area.
One business owner says if the chicken plant opens it could hurt her company.
Community members say they enjoy the peaceful scenery found in the McLemore cove area.
In April, Tori Phillips organized a community meeting to discuss the future of the cove.
Phillips claims she has been told one business in the community is closing at the end of September to make way for another.
“It could potentially be the biggest chicken processing plant in the Southeast, it could employ over 2000 people, and it will be from the hatchery to the freezer,” said Tori Phillips.
Phillips and her husband have owned Georgia Books which is located across the street from the property for about 20 years.
They sell textbooks across the country and around the world.
Phillips says she has a number of concerns one is the ability to protect her products.
“My books as you know paper absorbs smell and Odor,” said Phillips. “We don't smoke in our building we try to make sure the books are as clean as possible.”
Phillips says she is not against businesses moving to Walker County.
She is concerned things are moving too fast without community input.
“I want to make sure that the infrastructure is there I want to make sure the roads are going to adequately accommodate the plant, and I want to make sure that we have sewer,” said Phillips.
Commissioner Shannon Whitfield posted a video on Facebook addressing the injunction.
He claims the McLemore cove preservation society is quote “working off rumors, not facts.”
He says more information is not available because the county signed a nondisclosure agreement with the future business.
“This gives the company time to investigate our community without tipping off their competition, but it also gives us the opportunity to research their operations to see if they would be a good fit for Walker County,” said Commissioner Shannon Whitfield.
Members of the McLemore Cove Preservation Society say they are not suing anyone.
They just want the courts to stop the chicken processing facility from opening in the area.
PREVIOUS STORY: A group of Walker County residents are suing the county and a chicken processing plant company over a possible business deal.
They filed the lawsuit in Walker County Superior Court on Wednesday.
The McLemore Cove Preservation Society claims Walker County and Pilgrim’s Pride are trying to build a chicken processing plant facility in their community and that negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors “without public input.”
They state in the lawsuit that the county plans to waive certain taxes and give other benefits to the company.
Walker County’s sole commissioner, Shannon Whitfield, issued a video statement on Thursday saying the group is “working off rumors, not facts.”
Whitfield added that the lawsuit is “senseless.”
Pilgrim’s Pride responded to Channel 3's request for comment, saying: "As a corporate policy, Pilgrim’s does not comment on rumor or speculation. We have made no decisions that would impact the Chattanooga facility, our team members, or our growers who support the facility."