City of Fresno wants to join suit against meat-rendering plant

The Fresno BeeFebruary 4, 2014 

The city of Fresno asked a judge Tuesday if it could join a citizens group's legal battle against a southwest Fresno meat rendering plant.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Mark Snauffer said has to think about it.

In its lawsuit, Concerned Citizens of West Fresno contend Darling International Inc. is violating the Fresno Municipal Code by conducting meat rendering operations without a required conditional use permit.

The permit is needed, the group contends, because the plant emits noxious odors, forcing residents to shut their windows and stay inside.

But lawyers Jeff Reid and Chris Hall, who represent Darling, said the plant already has all permits necessary to operate at Belgravia Avenue near Church and Fruit avenues.

They also said the plant has a state of the art odor-reduction system and is in compliance with the local air district.

In April 2012, the citizens' group sued Darling and the city, contending City Hall refused to enforce its own laws. After more than a year of legal fighting, the city got out the lawsuit. But it now wants back in.

In court Tuesday, Tina Griffin, a supervising deputy city attorney, told Snauffer that it's the city's intention to have Darling get a conditional use permit in order to operate. She told the judge that attempts to mediate the issue outside of court had been unsuccessful.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6434, plopez@fresnobee.com or @beecourts on Twitter.

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