ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Town Council conducted a public hearing Monday on a rezoning request from Campbell Development, Inc. for a property located at 1419 N.C. Hwy. 53 West from residential-agricultural to industrial. Later in the meeting, the board voted to approve the request.
Mayor Sylvia Campbell excused herself from the discussion and voting on the item as a matter of conflict of interest.
During the noon work session, the board members were told the property in question is located in the town’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction. Town Manager Eddie Madden told the board that, in the past, the property has been used for such things as logging operations.
“The applicant plans to incorporate a method of fumigation of logs processed there. The fumigation process would require a rezoning of the property,” said Madden.
He added the business, RLS Logging, has obtained the necessary air quality permits which have been approved contingent on the town council approving the rezoning request.
Councilman Dicky Glenn told the board he had spoken to his brother-in-law who has knowledge of the proposed process. Glenn said the process is done inside a plastic tent or a container and it is a process that is used to kill insects that might be in wood or wood chips.
Councilman Rufus Lloyd told the board that there was lengthy discussion about the proposal in the planning board meeting.
“I think we were pretty satisfied by the answers given,” said Lloyd.
The board asked Fire Chief Nick West about emergency response if needed. He told the board that it is his understanding the chemical to be used in the process is methylbromide, used to kill pests and rodents.
“It’s my understanding the product will be in cylinders,” said West.
He said the cylinders are moved around on the property by forklifts. West said the methylbromide is nonflammable but can be extremely toxic.
West told the board that as far as an emergency response standpoint, the fire department would need about $5,000 for the purchase of air monitoring equipment and suits. He added that if the emergency is something the fire department cannot handle, there is a regional response team located in Fayetteville. West added that the fire department can obtain the necessary air monitoring equipment within two weeks from purchase.
Glenn asked if the business could be required to pay for the additional equipment. Madden said that because the proposed use is a use by right, that prevents the town from placing restrictions on the business.
During the discussion, Joey Taylor with Geographic Solutions and Surveying Services of Elizabethtown, who assisting the business with the project, was contacted by Campbell and arrived to answer questions during the noon session.
Taylor told the board that methylbromide is often used by farmers to treat tobacco beds and strawberry beds.
“It’s not uncommon. The only problem EPA has is it is an ozone depleting chemical so they limit the use of it,” said Taylor.
He added that the process the business is proposing to use with the logs is essentially the same process that is used by farmers.
Taylor said that it is nearly 1 mile to the nearest residence.
Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.