Environmental Report Reflects Concerns About Pet Food Plant

A newly released environmental consultant's report echoes neighborhood concerns about a proposed pet food plant in Ocean Springs.

Finicky Pet Food wants to locate in the city industrial park near Highway 90.

Nearby residents and several business owners oppose the project. They worry about things like excessive odors and noise.

The Ocean Springs aldermen directed the city planning commission to investigate the background and neighborhood concerns about the Finicky Pet Food project.

The report validates noise and odor concerns and questions a zoning decision.

The proposed pet food plant would be located just north of Bienville Place. Neighbors in that subdivision have been most vocal in their opposition.

Mary Rahlinski attended a public hearing and heard concerns about the anhydrous ammonia that would be used as a refrigerant at the nearby plant.

"I really don't want it here. And it scares me about that, what do you call that, anhydrous ammonia.  That scares me. And I don't want the smell and the noise," said Rahlinski.

The consultant's report suggests odor and noise are valid concerns.

Eco Systems Incorporated says despite the best efforts by the company to control it, odors may become a nuisance. It says such odors could create other public health concerns by attracting sea gulls, rats and mice. The report also says noise may become a nuisance.

"I think it primarily just validates our concerns," said attorney Ashley Hendren.

She lives in Bienville Place and represents neighbors in that subdivision and others. Opponents have asked the city to revoke the permit already given to Finicky Pet Foods.

"The neighborhood stands ready to file suit. And if the city does not revoke the permit then we will file suit in both the circuit court and the chancery court," said Hendren.

One section of the environmental consultants report addresses the classification of the Finicky operation. Although the city initially categorized the plant under the meat processing section of the zoning ordinance, the consultant says it is more in line with a slaughtering operation, which would require a more stringent review.

The city planning commission forwarded the report to the board of aldermen. Aldermen are expected to take up the issue at their meeting October 15th.