York County Council to maintain off on Silfab new job final decision

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A large new company may still come to York County, but the decision will take longer than expected.

On Monday night, York County Council deferred a first-vote on a tax incentive agreement with a company that promises 800 new jobs in Fort Mill. The Herald reported details last week of the deal, which would bring investment of $150 million with solar company Silfab, Inc.

Council would have to vote three times in favor of the proposal to make the incentive deal happen.

Rather than approving the first vote Monday, which is typical even on issues where council members have questions that can be resolved through the three-vote process, council pushed the first vote back to March 6.

Councilwoman Debi Cloninger represents the area where the 7149 Logistics Lane project would go. Cloninger said more time is needed to review the proposal.

U.S. 21 is a high-traffic area already and two new schools would be a next door neighbor. Cloninger has environmental concerns, with children nearby and manufacturing rather than current warehouse use.

“There is going to be a tremendous impact to the already congested area,” Cloninger said.

As reported by the Herald last week, three-quarters of the incoming jobs would be at $17 an hour according to figures from a state economic incentive deal. Other jobs would be up to $44 an hour. The number of jobs paying $17 an hour is a concern because it might not be sufficient in an area where housing affordability can be an issue.

“I don’t want those phone calls,” Cloninger said.

Councilman Tom Audette said the facility is a one-way-in, one-way-out access shared with other businesses.

“There is already concern in that area with the amount of trucks that go into that location,” Audette said.

County management supports the new business proposal. Council members didn’t directly oppose it Monday, instead saying time is needed to answer questions.

Councilwoman Allison Love said she couldn’t recall seeing the proposal come up at recent economic development committee meetings. Love said she was surprised to see the proposal come to council for an initial vote.

“I don’t like surprises,” Love said. “Here we’ve got a company on here that management supports, who is probably wondering why we’re deferring this tonight.”

Tom Audette asked for an economic development committee meeting this coming Monday to discuss the project. Details there could still put the project well on a fast track for approval. Or, they may not.

Council members agreed unanimously that pushing the decision back a few weeks was the right move.

“If we had a little time, and had known about this, I think we could have probably already gotten some of the answers to our questions,” Love said.

This story was initially posted February 21, 2023, 2:08 PM.

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John Marks graduated from Furman University in 2004 and joined the Herald in 2005. He handles local community growth, municipalities, transportation and instruction mostly in York County and Lancaster County. The Fort Mill native gained dozens of South Carolina Push Affiliation awards and a number of McClatchy President’s Awards for information coverage in Fort Mill and Lake Wylie.
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