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Company speaks up about Spencer trucking terminal

Town of Spencer

SPENCER — After a public hearing Tuesday, the Spencer Board of Aldermen accepted the recommendation of the Planning Board to increase the permitted uses of land in the interstate business zoning district to include automobile repair, painting and upholstery, trucking terminals, and warehousing and distribution.

All three uses are currently permitted in other business zoning districts.

Swing Transport and Fortson Freight Systems are the only two trucking terminal operations in the Spencer extraterritorial jurisdiction. Sharp Transit is located farther down Long Ferry Road in Rowan County.

The SEFA group, a referral by the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, reported a need for a trucking terminal near S.T.A.R. facilities, such as Duke Energy’s Buck Steam Station, to support a transportation project. A text amendment application, initiated by a landowner on Long Ferry Road, requested consideration to allow trucking terminals in the interstate business district, which was not allowed.

In close proximity to the applicant’s land, commercial operations of Fortson Freight Systems were nonconforming, and expansions to create jobs with a diesel auto repair shop would not be allowed without a change to the permitted use schedule. Therefore, the two uses were added to the application.

SEFA Group representative Robb Erwin, P.E. project manager, assured the town that no materials or product from the Buck plant known as “coal ash” would be brought or stored at a trucking terminal.

He described the loading and unloading of the product through sealed piping at the STAR location as a clean process with mitigating standards in place for ash. He said after the loading process at Buck Steam Station, the truck and trailer pass through a wash bay on site before leaving the property.

Erwinsaid the trucking terminal would perform general maintenance on the trucks to include oil and tire changes. The site would also support tasks such as hiring and training, safety training, STAR operations, engineering, dispatch and logistics for SEFA Transportation.

SEFA trucks will deliver material from the STAR plant to customers. There will be no discharge, disposal or storage of ash materials on site at a trucking terminal. Trucks will return empty and clean after servicing customers.

Erwin said SEFA plans to install a truck wash to clean road dirt from the exterior of the trucks and that all runoff from the trucks would be treated based on industrial standards and regulatory authority.

Upon receipt of the text amendment application, the town staff completed an analysis of the area and the permitted use schedule and presented the application and recommendation to the Planning Board on June 11. The Planning Board unanimously recommended to the Board of Aldermen the changes to the Spencer Zoning Ordinance after consideration was given to the 2025 Land Use Plan; public health, safety and general welfare; and goals, objectives and policies of the town as required by its review.

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