Charles River Labs pulls out of planned Lisbon facility

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Lisbon - posted Wed., Oct. 16, 2013

Charles River Laboratories has rescinded its application to open an avian vaccine facility at the former Royal Ballroom on Bundy Hill Road in Lisbon. The company revealed Oct. 15 that it had “decided not to move forward” with the application, which was to have been the subject of a public hearing Oct. 23. Charles River spokesperson Amy Cianciaruso declined to say whether neighbor opposition was a factor in the decision. “The main reason was that [Charles River] decided to evaluate another location for this facility,” she said. She declined to identify the other potential site.

“I can only assume that [neighbor opposition] influenced their decision”, said Lisbon resident Cheryl Blanchard, who led a group of neighbors opposing the facility. “No smart business would want to move into a place where they’re not wanted.  I’m very happy they realized that we didn’t believe that this belongs in our residential neighborhood.”

Blanchard said she planned to compose a letter thanking Charles River officials for their decision, “for not fighting us and dragging this through numerous hearings.” She said she also planned to do some additional follow-up legwork to inform local residents of the change. “We must have handed out 600 flyers last weekend,” she said. Another round of flyers may be printed to let people know that the hearing has been cancelled, she said.

Lisbon Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Robert Adams said he was disappointed that both sides were not able to present their case for and against the planned facility. "It's unfortunate that [Charles River] withdrew without at least presenting their plan. People had made up their minds before they found out about things, and we didn't have a chance to find out why they were against it," he said. 

Charles River had planned to use the Bundy Road site to raise chicks in a pathogen-free environment, with the ultimate purpose of producing a vaccine for infectious bursal disease virus, a disease common on chicken farms.

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