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IDA to help training group find new home

POSTED: October 17, 2013 9:53 p.m.

Effingham County Industrial Development Authority members have decided not to allow a training school to set up in the old Doncasters building — but they will try to help the group find a suitable new home.

Representatives from BPEY, which offers training in automotive classes and certified nursing assistant classes for a fee, had inquired about the IDA waiving its covenants and restrictions in the Effingham Industrial Park. Doing so would allow the organization to use the vacant Doncasters site, since BPEY officials said they have outgrown their current home in Rincon’s Towne Park West.

“We want to try to find a location that fits and helps that growth and aids in what we’re trying to accomplish in getting people more work-ready,” said IDA member Chap Bennett.

While IDA members agreed they share BPEY’s goals of bolstering workforce skills, they also worried that the use didn’t fit what they had in mind for the industrial park. IDA attorney Ted Carellas researched the covenants and restrictions for the industrial park, looking specifically at the permitted usages. Permitted uses, he said, include industrial, packaging, warehousing and distribution, research and development and company business offices.

Carellas said there are specifically-prohibited uses that are considered nuisances, such as mining and disposal of garbage.

“Otherwise, the board has pretty broad approval of uses,” he said. “I think the intent is to allow something to promote your mission.”

Carellas advised the board he believed the intent of the covenants and restrictions was to stick to intended uses, such as industrial. He also cautioned that if the IDA approved a use inconsistent with adjoining uses, neighboring enterprises could have legal recourse.

Bennett added that the industrial park’s covenants and restrictions don’t spell out that the board can or can’t allow such a use.

“To me, the use doesn’t fit with the intent of the park or with the neighbors already in there,” he said.

Bennett and other board members worried about the expected increased truck traffic in the park and the safety of students coming in and out of the facility. BPEY officials said all their students are at least 18 years old, and there will be little if any pedestrian traffic there.

“I was more concerned about the number of students coming and going mixed with that truck traffic,” said IDA member Rose Harvey.

Bennett said one of the reasons the IDA has backed the Effingham College and Career Academy and the Savannah Technical College campuses across Highway 21 from the industrial park is it gives companies an accessible workforce. He also suggested that BPEY may explore adjacent land there as a possible new home and offered his support for their objectives.

“It is within the realm of what we want to cater to,” he said. “We should take a very active role in finding and accommodating them. Workforce development is key to what we do. This is right in our wheelhouse. But that property is less than a perfect fit for this.”

Said IDA member Glenn Weston: “Our board is in support of your goal, and we want to take an active role in finding something more fitting than inside an industrial park.”

IDA CEO John Henry noted that available industrial sites and space are scarce in the county. The Doncasters building is approximately 48,000 square feet, and BPEY representatives said they have outgrown their current 12,000 square foot home.

“The future of industrial growth depends on what we can do with limited industrial property and industrial-zoned property,” he said. “ I would like to reserve industrial space for industrial uses.”


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