The two-hour meeting in a school lunchroom was tense at times, its 250 attendees divided over whether the county could protect its poultry-based economy as well as the rebounding aquaculture, tourism and wildlife of the Chesapeake Bay.
In the end, the county passed the new setbacks -- but didn't seem prepared to do much else. That was frustrating for Accomack native Jay Ford of the nonprofit Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper. But he recognizes it's not all the county's fault.
"It's not a problem that the localities can, or should be expected to tackle," he says. "It's unfair that the state is leaving rural localities that are understaffed for such a technical problem to try and tackle it with the limited tools they have because of right-to-farm laws."
He thinks the EPA is dragging its feet on evaluating the health and environmental impacts of big poultry operations. Without region-wide data, Ford says, there can't be much coordination.
READ MORE: Delmarva Public Media, March 4, 2016