The subject of chicken houses was brought up again during the public session at Wednesday’s Accomack County Board of Supervisors meeting.   Mr. Glen Saman of Painter told the board that he is concerned with water use by poultry houses. Saman warned that there is a limited amount of water available and if the large poultry farms use all the permitted water, we would run out.   Saman asked the Board to work with the State to require monitoring of chicken house water consumption. Later in the meeting the supervisors discussed the issue.

County Attorney Celia Burge was asked if the county could legally revoke existing poultry permits as some opponents of the industry have suggested. Burge said that legally once a permit is issued, it cannot legally be revoked by a governing body.

Pat Morrison of Building and Zoning told the board that the majority of the applications in the system have been approved. He said that there are three pending applications active at this time, but that it appears the big push to build chicken houses is over.

Supervisor Ron Wolff said that the county is a small part of the overall process and that most of the permits for chicken houses come through the state. He said that the Virginia Abatement process handles most of the issues that some local citizens are asking the county to address.

Supervisor Grayson Chesser, a member of the groundwater committee, stated that the Department of Environmental Quality already requires poultry operations that use over 300,000 gallons of water to install water meters and in some cases monitoring wells are also required in the vicinity.  Chesser said that these requirements are an active subject with DEQ and feels certain that large poultry house operations will be monitored regularly by the state.

Also during the public session, Aubrey Justis, representing the Saxis Volunteer Fire Department, addressed the Board during the public comment period. Justis renewed a request for the Board to consider in the upcoming budget providing EMS coverage for the three northern fire companies, Saxis, New Church and Greenbackville during the day. Justis said at these stations there is often no one around in the daytime to respond to calls for help. Justis asked the supervisors to consider a one cent tax increase to fund daytime coverage for northern Accomack County. Justis said that both the Fire Commission and the town of Saxis fully supported the request.