Author Topic: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site  (Read 972 times)

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IWCCTTT

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Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« on: April 22, 2021, 06:56:52 PM »
So a year has past since the Steel Mill closed and went idle again. When will city council do what they said and rezone the property so we can move forward?

The time has come to keep your word city council and lets get that site cleaned up.

Tom Rubillo

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2021, 10:40:20 PM »
My understanding is that the rezoning was automatic once the mill stood idle for a period of one year.  If that is correct, the council doesn't have to take any further action.  The effort to clean up the site would be, under those circumstances, an entirely administrative matter.  The mayor would simply have to direct the city administrator to apply to EPA for cleanup assistance through the federal "Superfund" program.  The City of Rock Hill reportedly got a lot of assistance from EPA cleaning up old, abandoned industrial sites there and is willing to share the knowledge it gained in the process with the City of Georgetown.  It may have already done so.  Meanwhile, since it abandoned its heavy industrial use of the property for more than a year now (it has not produced any steel during that entire period and the shutdown was not the result of a labor dispute -- the only exception that would have kept the clock from ticking -- it cannot restart production without the city council rezoning the property from its present "mixed used" classification back to a "heavy industrial" zone.  Before that can happen the matter would have to go back before the Planning Commission for its recommendations, convening hearings at which public comments for or against rezoning would have to be heard.   That, I believe, would turn into something of a political circus.

Now my understanding of the local zoning law may be in error.  I haven't reviewed it since the whole issue came up the last time.  I'm going strictly on my memory.  But I think I've got it right.  The steel mill and anyone else who is interested can read the ordinance and the news reports from back then and decide for themselves.  But one thing is certain, if the mill's investors think they can make a profitable enterprise out of antiquated equipment, competing successfully against the likes of NUCOR, they'll have to spend a lot of money, time and effort retooling on the one hand and fighting with the city, environmental groups and/or others in court about zoning before they get to try to do so.  I wouldn't advise them to throw more good money after bad, but, of course, that's all of up them.

PS:  The issue of "taking" by rezoning discussed in earlier postings is not entirely moot.  The present owners purchased the property with knowledge that there was a one year limitation on future closures (labor disputes excepted), so they have nothing to complain about on that score.

PPS:  There is a municipal election this year at which three council seats and the mayor's seat are on the ballot.  The administrator must maintain majority support on council to keep her job.  A majority of the council is up for election.  This is the time for a lot of political pressure.  This is time time for voters to express their views.  This is the time for action.    Those interested in the entire subject of cleanup need only go to EPA's website and look up "Superfund."  Marty posted an excellent article from Florida about successes there a few months ago.  Read that too.

forklift driver

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2021, 07:51:14 PM »
And yet James E. Sanderson, Jr and Jamie Sanderson are still getting a check? When will the other union members who are on unemployment turn on the corrupt Sandersons?

If the mill is in fact already rezoned then how much for the property? I know a rich guy up in Myrtle Beach who could buy it.

Tom Rubillo

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 02:26:34 PM »
Have him make an offer.  The city will cooperate.

JW

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2021, 12:54:49 PM »
Have him make an offer.  The city will cooperate.

What?????  Mr. Rubillio? The city cannot sell the Steel Mill. Mr. James E. Sanderson Jr already has a new buyer for the Steel Mill and we will be making steel again soon.

IWCCTTT

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2021, 03:09:22 PM »
If the two biggest steel producing companies in the world could not make the Georgetown Steel mill profitable why would anyone else try? Tear it down and move Georgetown forward.

Time for the Sanderson union to stop holding Georgetown hostage.

Tom Rubillo

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2021, 05:11:39 PM »
It is time to move forward.  If Sanderson or anyone else has found an investor foolish enough to buy an antiquated steel mill, that investor should make an offer.  If anyone else knows an investor who wants to redevelop the property, that person should make an offer.  I'm certain that Liberty's investors will be happy to talk to any potential buyers in order to recoup at least some of what Liberty has put into this property and put the money to use elsewhere.  One things seems certain at this point.  Liberty doesn't have the resources, credit and/or willingness to reinvest in new equipment in order to make the mill competitive.  Meanwhile, it languishes, along with Georgetown's economy.

The city, quite obviously, cannot sell the mill out from under Liberty.  It also doesn't have the kind of capital it takes to buy the property for the benefit of the taxpayers.  What it can do, however, is to help make the property more attractive and marketable by doing three things:  (1) enforce the zoning ordinance as amended to bar future heavy industrial use or, should Sanderson or Liberty come up with a buyer who will invest a lot of money in new equipment, rezone back to heavy industrial use; (2) enforce local ordinances to require further cleanup of the property and; (3) apply to EPA for cleanup assistance through its Superfund program.  One thing is certain, however.  No one --not Liberty, not Sanderson, not the city, and not the voters should sit on their hands and do nothing.  The entire community needs this very important piece of property returned to productive use.  It should not longer simply sit idle.  Everybody should be able to agree about that.

My best notion is for Coastal Carolina, Clemson and USC to get together and build a joint campus on the site (and the Port's Authority property) devoted to environmental sciences.  Coastal has an oceanography program situated on Front Street today.  Clemson and USC have environmental programs at Baruch.  Clemson has a world class lab studying the estuary.  USC has one of the nation's leading forestry programs.  They can share dormitory, classroom, lab, cafeteria, library and other facilities arranged in an attractive horse shoe of buildings surrounding a main quadrangle on the Port Authority peninsula and extending around the curve of the Sampit to Front Street.  A very beautiful campus that would attract faculty, students, visitors, tourists and money, money, money.  Cleanup and construction will create lots of jobs, jobs, jobs, all high paying.  That's  what I think.  What about you, reader, what do you want to see there?  We can't get any further than our imagination, eyes, brains, hands, legs and strong backs will take us.  Ideas, criticisms and/or alternatives invited.  Just please, spare us all the name calling.

IWCCTTT

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2021, 09:44:24 AM »
I agree with Tom. Lets get the city moving forward. I don't especially like giving the property to the university since they won't pay property tax but the new jobs it would create would be better than it sitting abandoned and making Georgetown look bad.

Tom Rubillo

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Re: Time to do what you said and rezone the mill site
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2021, 07:51:01 PM »
Thanks for raising the issue of taxes.  It is an important one. 

As I understand the situation, the Ports Authority is a government agency and doesn't pay property taxes.  The steel mill, on the other hand, pays them to both the city and the county.  When it comes to that issue, it seems, we're both half on track. 

Perhaps one approach (and I think maybe the best approach) would be for the universities to get together and build on the Port Authority property and that there be a commercial development on the steel mill property -- something like a hotel or the like.  Big wigs in Columbia could make the first part happen with a stroke of the governor's pen.  The steel mill would market its property to the highest bidder.  In control of zoning, the city could exercise a strong hand in all of that, assuming, of course, that council members have any vision, gumption and/or, as we say in Italian, cahoons.  But their leadership about the use of property on the East side of South Fraser could make the value of the real estate on the other side of South Fraser go up quite a lot, spurring redevelopment there too. 

We should all keep thinking and talking, pointing out problems or concerns and then and, in the meantime, keep pushing the notion that the time has come to move forward.  Do nothing and nothing happens.