WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Project leaders for a meat processing facility continue to work toward securing a location to get the project off the ground.

The county first considered putting it near Grandview Elementary. After that was off the table, they considered placing it next to the Jonesborough Flea Market.

While that is still an option, another location is also being considered along Highway 11E and the Eagle’s Nest residential community.

Neighbor Richard Hayward lives in the Eagle’s Nest community and received a notice in the mail from the county that the Jonesborough Regional Planning Commission will consider a request to rezone land for a slaughterhouse just across his property line.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was just shocked,” Hayward said. “In our backyard, literally in our backyard, was just insidious to us all.”

Hayward said having a slaughterhouse next door would devalue his property, making it impossible to sell if he needed to.

The Haywards aren’t alone in their concerns, other neighbors in the Eagle’s Nest residential community have similar worries.

“I don’t care how quiet they say it’s going to be or how unpungent the odor is going to be,” Roger Granbois said. “You can’t hide that stuff.”

Neighbor Carrie Mae said while she supports farming and has family in agriculture, she doesn’t think a residential area is the right place for a meat processing facility.

“I think anyone that moves to East Tennessee wants to be able to spend time outdoors especially in their own backyard,” Mae said. “That’s one of our biggest concerns.

A spokesperson for the meat processing facility said in a statement Wednesday that the location next to the Jonesborough Flea Market is still the Appalachian Producers Cooperative’s first choice.

“The rezoning request for the second property is not being pursued by the Cooperative and was requested by the property owners. The Cooperative is aware of their request for rezoning and does consider that property a fall-back option in the event that the property next to the Flea Market does not work out for some unforeseen reason.”

Kayla Nichols, Appalachian RC&D

Commissioner Kent Harris said while he’s in support of the facility, he’s also in support of finding the right location for it.

“We don’t need to go into any area that people don’t want us in because there’s places that can be built that will work without upsetting the neighborhood,” Harris said.

If you ask Hayward and his wife, Vivian, their neighborhood is not that place.

“This proposed project would change our lives and not for the better,” Vivian Hayward said.

The rezoning request applicant, Scot Hamilton, declined to speak about his request at this time.

The request will be considered at the Jonesborough Regional Planning Commission meeting July 19, before being sent to the Washington County Board of Commissioners for final consideration.