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K.G. industrial land rezoning put off

The King George County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing Tuesday night about rezoning a piece of land near the industrial park to accommodate a national company interested in relocating there.

But no sooner had county staff completed their presentation about the rezoning—which the Planning Commission approved—did Board Chairman Joe Grzeika announce that no decision would be made.

“I think that we should hold this case and bring it back at a later date,” Grzeika told fellow board members.

That’s all that was said about the matter.

According to the board agenda, members brought up the topic again during closed session, but didn’t explain the delay or discuss it further when they returned to open session.

Grzeika told The Free Lance–Star on Wednesday that the county has to work out a “few other issues before we decide that case.”

One of the biggest is sealing the deal between King George County and the national rebar company—identified only as HGAC LLC of Delaware. The company manufactures rebar, steel rods used in construction to reinforce concrete.

King George announced on May 6 that the Fortune 500 company wants to move its operations to the King George Industrial Park.

Linwood Thomas, the county’s economic development director, said the company has 60 locations throughout the United States and the world, and that the move to King George would result in a capital investment of $8 million to $12 million.

Thomas said this week that attorneys are working to finalize the deal.

“These projects take a tremendous amount of time and on average, at least 18 months to even have an announcement,” he wrote in an email. “We have not even been working this project 12 months.”

The proposed rezoning involves 43 acres next to the industrial park. It’s currently zoned agricultural and must be rezoned industrial for development plans to proceed.

The land is owned by the Frank Taylor Limited Family Partnership. The Taylors also owned the land that was part of negotiations with Harris Teeter Inc. in 2009.

Harris Teeter had big plans for King George, including a $101 million facility and creating 335 new full-time jobs, but dropped them when the economy soured.

Of the 43 acres of Taylor property, 30 acres would be used for the rebar business and the rest would be held by the county or transferred to its Economic Development Authority, according to county documents.

King George already has allocated money to improve the property.

In June, County Administrator Travis Quesenberry said the county set aside $975,830 in 2008 to spend on park infrastructure.

It’s allotted $97,780 for design services to bring public water and sewer to the area, for engineering work on the rail design and surveying fees.

The county also spent $86,000 to extend fiber-optic cable to the park.

The rebar company also would use up to $450,000 in funds from the Commonwealth Transportation Board to improve rail access to the property. The grants would be used to build 4,200 linear feet of track, served by CSX Transportation.

The additional track would generate another 1,000 railcars annually from the industrial park, which is off State Route 3 and across from the King George Landfill.

Resident Warren Veazey questioned various aspects of the rezoning during the public-comment period Tuesday night. He wondered why the county would rezone farmland to industrial use when board members claim they want to maintain the rural landscape.

“How is that keeping the county rural?” he asked.

Veazey also said the county was “playing favorites” to the Taylor family by rezoning the land and increasing its value.

Supervisor Dale Sisson Jr. said that wasn’t the case.

“We’re way more interested in the property and its location to rail than who the property owner might be,” Sisson said.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425