West Columbia businessman tired of feathers, odors, and chicken plant

Published: Mar. 8, 2017 at 4:14 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2017 at 12:34 PM EST
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WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Steve Campbell is at his wit's end.

"Do I need to put a chicken suit on and come out in front of the city?" he asked West Columbia City Council during a Tuesday night meeting. "I'm not being unreasonable. I'm just tired of it."

During a presentation, he shared with council members the plight of his Sunset Boulevard car dealership, City Auto Sales.

"Here's a freakin' dead rat outside my building," he said as he shuffled through pictures he's taken at his dealership recently.

He told them he has big problems with the lot next door to his dealership. He said it's a lot where trailers full of chickens give off some less than desirable smells and countless white fluffy feathers that line Sunset Boulevard like patches of snow.

"I get about a bucket of chicken feathers a week. From what I understand, chicken feathers, again, it's not considered littering, so I guess if I put them in y'all's parking lot it wouldn't be littering," Campbell said.

The city told him it is trying to do something about the trucks and other problems associated with the chicken processing plant on the river, House of Raeford.

"As this area has changed over time, it's no longer an acceptable use," said Councilman Tem Miles.

But, as the mayor told Campbell, the city can't force the plant out.

Instead, the city said its code enforcement is paying close attention to the plant, the trucks, and the odors. The city said it will be "assertive," and it wants to do something about all the feathers too.

"These are things that we should not have to see as we move through our city on a regular basis," said Miles.

Right now, the mayor said, by law, they aren't considered litter, but the city is looking to change that by tweaking existing ordinances or drawing up a new one.

"The community is 100 percent wanting these things gone," said Campbell.

That opinion wasn't shared by every business owner along Sunset Boulevard. One said it doesn't bother him. Another said, "It is what it is." As for the trucks next to Campbell's business, trucks containing live chickens will now leave by 6 a.m. each day, according to the city.

Mayor Bobby Horton told Campbell he shares his concerns. But, he said it'd be easier to be elected governor than to get rid of the chicken plant.

Nevertheless, city council has made it a primary goal of 2017 to address on-site and off-site problems associated with House of Raeford. House of Raeford didn't have a comment.

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