Mebane planning board recommends new zoning for transload facility to help industries in county

A train pulls away from the Cambro rail spur that will serve as the rail line for the new transload rail facility.

Mebane’s planning board gave its approval to 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.

A rail car can been send next to the Cambro manufacturing plant off West Holt Street in Mebane. An adjacent lot is being requested to be rezoned for the transload facility.

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.

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.

Omega Wilson with the West End Revitalization Association 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.

The rezoning for the transload facility was approved 7-0, with board members Keith Hoover and Gale Pettiford absent.

The item will be on the city council’s November 6 agenda.

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.