International company eyes Spencer for industrial operation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SPENCER — An international company is considering Spencer for a recycling and reprocessing operation, RowanWorks Economic Development confirmed Tuesday night.
Spencer aldermen were asked to amend the town’s zoning ordinance to define “recycling” and “resource recovery” and the uses would be added to the industrial zoning district. During a public hearing on the amendment, EDC Executive Director Robert Van Geons said he appreciated the responsiveness of Spencer staff and leaders to make the changes that would clear the way for the company.
Aldermen approved the change. While Spencer is competing with other sites for the business, Van Geons said he can go back to the company and tell leaders that they would comply with regulations in Spencer.
Alderman Reid Walters said he understands the need for companies to negotiate in confidence but asked Van Geons for an example of the type of business that would use the town’s amended ordinance.
Companies like Charlotte Pipe in Charlotte and RDH Environmental Services in Cleveland recycle scrap metal stock, tires and other materials to create new products, Van Geons said. He said he could not reveal which company was considering Spencer but added that two unrelated German companies have been looking at sites in Rowan County recently.
Aldermen asked Van Geons to sit down with them sometime and make suggestions about how the town can better market available sites like the former N.C. Finishing Co. site.
“We have prime industrial sites,” Walters said. “It would be good if the EDC would give us specifics that we should do.”
Van Geons agreed.
Also Tuesday, aldermen had a lengthy discussion about an ongoing problem with mailboxes in the town’s historic district. Aldermen approved amending the Historic Preservation Commission’s guidelines to require a certificate of appropriateness for curbside mailboxes, which will serve as a deterrent.
Town leaders would like all mailboxes in the historic district to be on the house, not at the curb.
But about a year ago, the U.S. Post Office began requiring people who moved into the historic district to use a curbside mailbox. Aldermen protested and said they thought the issue was resolved, but Town Manager Larry Smith said there is still confusion surrounding the subject, and officials with the post office will not call the town back.
“There is not one other historic district in Rowan County that’s having this issue right now,” Walters said. “Why are we being singled out on this issue?”
The board voted to contact staff in a congressional office to request assistance getting answers from the U.S. Post Office. Smith said other towns across the state are dealing with the same problem.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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