The Jefferson Square housing development off Millport Road in West Lampeter Township is less than a half-mile wide, but residents are far apart in terms of their feelings about the proposed expansion of a local raw pet food business.

Homeowners on the west side of the development play nice with nextdoor neighbor Chris Glick, an Amish farmer and businessman who runs BJ’s Raw Pet Food at 1518 Millport Road. They consider Glick a good neighbor and support his business, which packages and sells raw meat for dogs and cats, grinded down on-site from the carcasses of cows, pigs, chickens and goats among other animals.

Just down the road, residents on the east side of the development are leery of Glick since he applied for a special zoning exception to expand his business on land he owns and farms next to their homes at 1618 Millport Road. They don’t know Glick as well, and they’re concerned that a raw meat processing facility will come with foul odors, loud noises and heavy traffic. Nearby homeowners outside the development share those sentiments.

“I don’t want a factory in my backyard,” said Jeane Payeur, whose home on Lampeter Road will overlook the facility. “Why not just keep it where it is?”

Glick’s proposal is currently being reviewed by the township’s zoning hearing board, which heard the first part of Glick’s request in early April. The property is zoned low-density residential, so he needs an exception to the zoning to operate the pet food business. Glick was granted the same exception for his current property. The hearing will continue May 14.


Raw pet food is becoming more popular, and Glick said he needs more storage space to accommodate the growing interest in his business. If approved, the second location would largely be frozen storage space, he said, but it also would house the meat grinding machinery.

The current location would be used only as the business storefront and storage space. Glick said he wants to use the second location down the street for the expansion because the current site has better soil for farming that he wants to preserve. The proposed expansion calls for a roughly 11,000-square-foot structure on the nearly 50-acre second site.

As he awaits the board’s decision, Glick said he is frustrated by the differences of opinion among his neighbors. He thinks those who oppose the proposal aren’t well informed about his operation and says he’s never heard any complaints from his closest neighbors in the four years his business has been in operation.

“They’re smart people. They want to support it,” Glick said.

A look into the facility

The Watchdog had the chance to take a look around BJ’s during an open house Friday night, when Glick opened his doors for anyone to take a look around and ask questions.

The business currently operates out of a 8,040-square-foot space, half of which is taken up by the storefront, offices and a fulfillment line where workers box up the pet food to ship. Online sales account for about 90% of Glick’s business with most orders coming in from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and Virginia.

The grinding machinery is tucked into the back of the building. It consists of a pair of metal bins, about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide, connected by a conveyor. The carcasses are coarsely ground in the first bin, then the meat travels along the conveyor to the second bin, where the meat is ground down more finely.

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A tour at BJ’s Raw Pet Food facility in West Lampeter Township on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Glick purchases the meat, which arrives as frozen animal carcasses from local farms, though a small percentage is sourced from his own farm or outside the county.

“It’s the same thing you would buy at the supermarket when you get ground hamburger. It’s like frozen ground hamburger — that’s exactly what you buy at (BJ’s) for your pet,” Glick said at the April zoning meeting.

Though the grinding machine is loud when it’s turned on, Glick said people can only hear it if they’re standing in the building’s storefront. He also insisted there is no smell when the meat is being processed. It is similar, he said, to handling raw meat in a home kitchen.

The only strong smell the Watchdog noticed Friday came from a storage freezer, where Glick noted he was storing some unusual raw meat (beef stomach) that had been delivered that day.

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Another question concerning some residents is whether the grinding process leads to environmental contamination from the raw meat.

BJ’s processes about 35,000 pounds of animal meat a week, and Glick said nothing goes to waste. Everything that goes into the processing machine goes into a tub for sale.

The new site will include a wastewater collection tank that would hold water from cleaning floors and equipment. That water would be used to irrigate the surrounding farmland, and Glick said water tests have found no traces of animal contamination.

Conflicting arguments

A handful of concerned residents have come out to take a look around the facility, Glick said, though none came out for the tour Friday evening. A few people told The Watchdog they were interested but weren’t available that night.

Three people did come to the tour to show support for Glick, speaking highly about his work and his neighborly attitude. One resident, Pat Wert, who also works at the store, said she’s not sure why people are bothered by the idea of an expansion. She said the smell was worse when the property was a dairy farm, which Glick operated after it was passed down from his parents. Today, Glick still has some cattle on site, though he mostly farms crops like soybeans.

“I just think they’re misinformed,” Wert said. “I’d rather have this than houses.”

A handful of residents on the development’s west side echoed Wert’s experiences. Steve Worthington said he’s lived in the neighborhood for 35 years and rarely smells anything besides manure and can sometimes hear loud noises but can’t distinguish whether it’s tractor trailers or farming equipment.

Some nervous residents hear the positive feedback from their neighbors on the far side of the development, but they remain hesitant. One East Jefferson Court resident, who declined to give her name, said she would support Glick’s plans at face value, but she isn’t sure the portrait supporters are painting of a low-key farming business will be the reality.

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