Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Mebane city council approves rezoning for construction of “transload” depot


Mebane’s city council has approved rezoning of a 3.8-acre tract beside the Cambro manufacturing plant off West Holt Street in order to allow the Samet Corporation to construct a long-anticipated “transload” rail facility.

Brian Hall, who heads up real estate transactions for the Greensboro-based company that has done numerous projects in Mebane and across Alamance County, described the company’s plans, both to the planning board in October and to the city council earlier this month.

The new facility will use an existing rail line that serves Cambro, Hall explained, and will have a maximum of ten box cars or tankers that will use the line.

Hall explained that Cambro had originally selected Mebane because of the potential for the rail connection to the main line just a few hundred yards from the company’s site.

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Hall said that other existing tenants in the North Carolina Industrial Center which Samet has built may also find the accessibility to the rail line useful, as might other area companies. The other closest transload facilities are in Winston-Salem and Fuquay-Varina.

Earlier this year, in April, the county’s board of commissioners unanimously pledged just over $300,843 for this transload facility, and the city of Mebane approved a similar amount in May.

The General Assembly set aside $2.6 for this facility in its 2021 budget, but escalating cost projections caused Samet to approach the commissioners and Mebane’s city council for supplemental funds to cover the now estimated $3.2 million cost of construction.

Hall told the city’s planning board that the company will seek to leave as many existing trees as possible as a buffer beside nearby homes.

[Story continues below photo of existing rail line that runs into Cambro manufacturing plant off West Holt Street as well as map of the expanded site plan for the transload facility.]

Omega Wilson with the West End Revitalization Association told the planning board that he wants a “truck route” established that would ensure that trucks going to and from the transload facility don’t use “small, residential streets” as he said existing trucks have. Jules Austin made a similar plea to the city council.

While Ed Hooks said the city could petition DOT to establish a lower speed limit, city manager Chris Rollins explained that DOT’s position, generically, is that state roads are not limited to particular types of vehicles. “DOT is not going to prohibit trucks,” Rollins summarized.

The council went ahead and approved the rezoning on a 5-0 vote. Hall also confirmed that the company will ultimately ask for the property to be annexed into the city.

Hall said that the company hopes to move forward “as soon as possible” with building the transload facility after obtaining final city council approval for the project.

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