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I attended the Board of Appeals hearing Feb. 12 for Richard and Carol Turner for Rick’s Place. There were citizens who spoke as individuals and others who spoke representing various other community organizations that Mr. Turner has supported [“Waldorf slaughterhouse public hearing draws crowd,” Maryland Independent, Feb. 15].

Richard and Carol Turner have owned and operated their small local livestock processing facility since 2002 in a rural agricultural area in Charles County on Petzold Drive. Why now, after 11 years of spending their life savings to open and operate their small family business with the approval of county, state and federal regulators, is the future of their business and livelihood in jeopardy?

He and his family have endured constant scrutiny and harassment by neighbors to prove he is in compliance with county, state and federal regulations. It has been proven that his business is not detrimental to the use, peaceful enjoyment, economic value or development of surrounding properties. He has provided a needed service. He has participated in the Farmers and Hunters Feed the Hungry program and countless other acts of kindness to help his community and neighbors in need.

It is truly a shame that a few small-minded neighbors have made accusations against his business, his family and his customers. The business is on a private road that Mr. Turner and two other citizens have maintained since Mr. Turner bought the property in 1999. The neighbors who have filed the complaints against Mr. Turner have not contributed financially to the upkeep of the road. The neighbors who have filed the complaints live at the opposite end of the road of Mr. Turner.

I have traveled Petzold Road many times since 1999, in good weather and bad, day and night and different seasons. It is nearly impossible to gain excessive speed along the road because it is a small gravel road. I have never seen children on or near the road or pedestrians on the road when I have traveled it. I have seldom passed another vehicle when I have been on the road.

Why is it that Mr. Turner is being held up as a scapegoat for all the issues surrounding traveling along Petzold Road? He is one of many residents and home businesses located along the road.

I urge the board to rule in favor of Richard and Carol Turner. The decision will greatly affect the entire Turner family because it is, after all, a small family-owned business and the only source of income for the family. Many tri-county residents also depend on the facility and the service he provides, as evidenced by the many speakers who spoke on behalf of Rick’s Place at the hearing.

Melissa Rottman, Huntingtown