A proposed red meat and poultry slaughterhouse at Libby Hill Business Park in Gardiner will be reviewed by the city for the first time at the Planning Board’s Tuesday night meeting.

The owner of Northeast Meats, a meat processing center opened last year about three miles away on Brunswick Avenue, plans to build the connected U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected slaughterhouses at a recently purchased lot in the city’s business park.

The board is scheduled to review the plan at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. If approved, it would be the first USDA-inspected poultry slaughterhouse in Maine.

The only state-inspected poultry facility, Weston’s Meat Cutting and Poultry, is in neighboring West Gardiner, but there are around a dozen poultry farms with on-site processing facilities approved through the state for limited numbers of birds, according to Henrietta Beaufait, manager of the Maine Red Meat and Poultry Inspection Program. A USDA-inspected slaughterhouse allows producers to sell the meat directly to customers in other states or to companies that distribute in other states, such as Whole Foods.

Bill Lovely, who also owns ABJ General Contractor and the meat processing facility with his wife, Anette, said he hopes to have the poultry side of the slaughterhouse open by the end of September or early October.

Maine-ly Poultry in Warren and Common Wealth Poultry Co. in Whitefield plan to lease the poultry slaughtering and processing facility, Lovely said. Northeast Meats would use the red meat facility, which probably would open in November or December, and then truck the slaughtered animals to its current building on Brunswick Avenue to be processed and packaged, he said. The red meat side would be used for slaughtering cattle, lambs and pigs, according to the application.

The Gardiner City Council approved the purchase-and-sale agreement for the lot last week, but only the Planning Board needs to approve the proposed facility.

The slaughterhouse is allowed in the business park by the city’s land use ordinance, but is subject to a review, according to Nate Rudy, director of economic and community development for the city. He said the board will review whether the plan meets certain standards regarding lighting, parking and other requirements of the zoning laws. The Planning Board also will ask the applicant about how he would operate the slaughterhouse, Rudy said.

He said his office has determined the application is complete, but it doesn’t make recommendations on whether such Planning Board applications should be approved.

“This is a highly regulated industry, and really the USDA’s very stringent requirements for how this type of facility is operated far supersedes and outweighs the amount of scrutiny they would receive from the planning office,” Rudy said.

As part of the sale agreement for the lot, the city approved a credit enhancement agreement for Lovely, who is using a recent promotion from the city that allows businesses to put 10 percent down for the property and pay the rest off using credit enhancements.

The city will give back 50 percent of the new tax revenue for the first seven years and 33 percent for the next 13 years, as long as it doesn’t exceed the purchase price of $146,250, according to Rudy.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig

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