EDC approves recommending Daniel Road study

Dec. 19, 2013 @ 07:42 AM

Moving into the next part of developing 90-acre tract of county-owned land along Daniel Road, the Rutherford County Economic Development Commission (EDC) approved the recommendation of a second environmental study of the site to the Rutherford County Commission.

The recommendation was made during the December meeting of the EDC Wednesday.

The study was listed as a "need" to further develop the location for economic development purposes as part of the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program.

An initial environmental study concluded the potential for environmental issues on the site as a result of report filed on property adjacent to the site. That triggered the need for a Phase II evaluation of the site, according to Matt Blackwell, EDC director.

"We could wait and see if a company would do the study as part of the site selection process," Blackwell said. "That carries a risk."

The intent of the Daniel Road property is to develop for new business. The site was one of 17 chosen by Duke Energy for its Site Readiness Program and the study was conducted by the national site selection coordination firm of McCallum Sweeney Consulting, based in Greenville, S.C.

Blackwell said by the county doing the study itself, the possibility of remediating any potential contamination can be done quickly, making the site more attractive and profitable for any industry eyeing the site for relocation or expansion.

Blackwell said the firm of S&ME, an environmental engineering firm with offices in Raleigh and Spartanburg, S.C., conducted the initial environmental review of the site and submitted a proposal for the second phase not to exceed $8,900.

"From there, the intent would be to see if this would impact the marketability of the site," said Terry Hines, EDC board president. "The ultimate goal is site certification."

Additionally, the EDC approved asking for the contract with S&ME to be exempted from the Mini-Brooks Act, which covers the procurement of services performed by architects, engineers, surveyors and construction managers.

The Act states services conducted by those entities have to be solicited based on qualifications, not fees or price of the contract, according to the North Carolina School of Government. The law stipulates the Act can be waived for work done under $30,000 in price.

After the environmental study is completed and any reclamation is done, Blackwell said there is still work that needs to be done at the site to make it ready for development or consideration on the state's certification list.

"There is still some due diligence that we need to do," Blackwell said. "There is work on delineation of wetlands on the property and we have reached out to a company to do that, if there are no fatal flaws with the environmental study."

Blackwell said a goal is to have the Daniel Road site placed on the state's certified sites list, making it more attracting and visible to potential businesses because some industries only look at certified sites when eyeing potential expansion or relocation.

"If you aren't on the list, you are eliminated," Blackwell said.

The EDC board forwarded its recommendations to the Rutherford County Commission for consideration on its Jan. 6 meeting.