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Restraining order prevents opening of slaughterhouse

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Democratic State Committeewoman Joan Flowers obtained a temporary restraining order preventing R&B Slaughterhouse, at 126-24 Farmers Blvd., from opening June 16. Residents and leaders, including state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans), have called for the establishment's removal because they feared it would contaminate the surrounding residential neighborhood.

"Goat, sheep and people don't mix," the assemblyman said.

In her paperwork, Flowers said the site was formerly an auto body repair shop that was shut down because it did not have proper permits. The attorney added that no tests were done on the soil and environment to see if oil and fuel seeped into the ground.

R&B's owner was unavailable for comment when telephoned. Two men who were inside the one-story slaughterhouse doing construction work refused to comment.

Despite the court action, residents were still upset over the fact that they were not informed about the opening of a slaughterhouse, which will have chicken, fowl, rooster, guinea hen, goat, sheep and lamb, according to a sign posted outside its doors.

More than 20 residents joined Scarborough as well as representatives of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) outside R&B Saturday to protest its operation.

State Assembly District 29 Leader Elmer Blackburne called the owners cowards for failing to discuss their plans with residents.

"They're trying to say it's a clean operation. If it is, then why don't they come to the community and talk about it," he said.

As the protesters marched in a circle around the establishment, the construction workers began photographing the demonstration on their cell phones and asked the residents to leave. The request did not sit well with the protestors, who continued on.

"We don't need to move, you have to move," they all shouted.

Scarborough and the other leaders said it was hard for the government to prevent the slaughterhouse or similar establishments from popping up in the area because they are allowed under the lot's M-1 zoning. The leaders said they will push the city to review the zoning 47-year regulations for the area that already includes a Western Beef meat market.

"We've had our fair share of these places," said Brian Simon, Meeks's chief of staff.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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