Egg project awaits word

An egg hatchery is being considered for the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park on Route 3 in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The Georgia company that wants to build an egg hatchery in the agribusiness park on Route 3 is still waiting to hear about state funding before definitely committing to the project.

Watertown developer Michael E. Lundy said on Monday the Empire State Development Corporation’s financing is the only issue holding up the $15 million project in the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park, located near the BOCES complex in the town of Watertown.

The project cleared a major hurdle on Monday when the town of Watertown Planning Board approved revised site plans for a considerably larger egg hatchery than had been originally proposed.

The Georgia company, CWT Farms International, now plans a 50,000-square-foot hatchery that would handle 800,000 eggs a week.

The hatchery would produce 36.4 million eggs a year, up from the first-proposed 15.6 million,

Mr. Lundy, who has been working on the project since August, also cleared up any concerns as to whether the plant would cause an odor problem, saying that any smell would be confined to a small room with its door closed.

The chicks will be trucked off site within hours of hatching, he said.

“After they’re hatched, they’ll be kicked out the door,” Planning Board Co-chair Thomas E. Boxberger explained.

Under the revised site plans, the building will be moved 40 feet to the west to accommodate the bigger facility and to allow tractor-trailers to have better maneuverability when leaving the hatchery.

The company is considering the Watertown site and potential locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The agribusiness park is owned by Mr. Lundy.

The hatchery would require about 17 employees for the day shift and a few other employees who would work at night. The company could add another shift in the future, Mr. Lundy said.

Chicks would be hatched at the facility and then primarily head off to Canada for the broiler chicken market before ending up as rotisserie chickens, the kinds that are sold at grocery stores.

Before approving the site plans, planning board members debated whether the project was an agricultural business or light manufacturing.

In the end, they determined that it would be light manufacturing because the chicks would not be raised at the facility, just hatched.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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