Business eyeing old Printing House faces obstacles

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By Alice Du Pont

Gadsden commissioners have yet to put out the welcome mat for a business interested in moving into a long-shuttered Quincy facility. 

Whether or not Sicamu Inc. (Spray Quimica) will relocate in the former Printing House will be determined later. The Gadsden County Board of Commissioners said they wanted to wait until the issue is sent back to the Planning and Zoning Commission before making a decision. 

Spray Quimica is a family-owned corporation and the largest Venezuelan contract aerosol filler in that country. The corporation is asking commissioners to approve their site and reuse plans to open a manufacturing facility on Strong Road.

There were complaints that people who live and work along Strong Road were not properly notified. Jill Jeglie, the county’s interim planning and community development director, said she could not be sure when the red signs, notifying the public of changes at a site, were erected or that they remained up for the proper length of time, given the amount of rainfall and the paper signs.

It also occurred during the time the former director left the county.

“I have heard rumors that the signs and the letters (to notify property owners) did not go out; maybe this item needs to be taken back to P and Z and the people who work in the area need to be notified with the correct information. I am very disappointed in P and Z,” said Michael Dorian.

Jeglie said notification letters were sent to property owners within 1,000 feet, and that meets the legal requirement.

Karen Bass, who represents the company, said the issue is about jobs and the company has other facilities in the United States that are in neighborhoods. The company has been accident-free since facilities opened in the United States.

But Sherrie Taylor, who represents the district for the proposed plant, was adamant in her opposition.

“Nothing has changed (since the issue was brought to the BoCC) about my position. I don’t think it’s wise to put an aerosol company there because just about everything around it is health related. I applaud the company for choosing Gadsden County, but just not in that area,” Taylor.

Within a half-mile of the proposed plant are two apartment complexes which cater to older people, a school, the emergency room, the senior citizens center, Apalachee Mental Health, the Gadsden County Health Department and the Jessie Furlow Medical Center.

Another concern was whether or not the people who work at the facilities had been notified.

“There is not industry in our county that is completely free of risk. Unless there is something specific you’re worried about, we should move forward,” said Commissioner Gene Morgan.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Gardner agreed.

“I think the safety issues have been addressed. You cannot mitigate every risk to make sure everything is completely safe; I don’t know how realistically you can do that in this day and age,” Gardner said. “This company has been around 43 years and has never had an accident.”

“My heart, soul and gut tells me this is 100 percent wrong,” Taylor said.

Bass said, according to the Citizens Bill of Rights, community meetings had been held and after 130 notices were mailed out, only three people attended the meeting. However, two public meetings are required but only one was held, according to P and Z Commission Member Ed Allen.

The BoCC process must begin, starting with Planning and Zoning advertising and a round of meetings and forms as required by a first-time company.