Gibson’s town council tabled several proposals this week, including postponing a motion on rezoning the former Southern Gin and Fertilizer property on Oil Mill Road.
The possibility of rezoning the property was brought before council by Dan Campbell and Josh Byrd, who recently purchased it and plan to operate a recycling center and scrap yard there.
“We want to bring a recycling center down the road to Southern Gin,” said Campbell. “It’s a great location with the scales and the rail system there. We’re into recycling; everything we do is recycling. I don’t look forward to throwing anything into the landfill.”
The property is currently zoned residential-agricultural, according to Jim Snead, Gibson’s town attorney.
“Whatever the zoning right now may be, the ordinance will specifically say what is allowed in that specific zoning,” Snead said. “It’s basically fitting a square peg into a square hole.”
Campbell said he plans to construct a privacy fence around the site to preserve aesthetic appeal, as well as purchase and demolish an abandoned house located on nearby property. He plans to build a new residence in its place.
“The old abandoned house down there, we would like to clean that up, move the house away and become a resident of the town of Gibson,” said Campbell. “I’m looking, with all of the equipment, to put about $200,000 into this, maybe a little more, not counting the residence we plan on building on that location.”
He estimated that the business would initially employ five people. The proposal was ultimately tabled until the council’s September meeting, giving Snead the opportunity to determine whether or not the project will need to petition for the property to be rezoned.
“We don’t have any choice on that but to table it until our next meeting,” said Gibson mayor Ronnie Hudson. “We’ll let him look over it and in the meantime we have time to meet with the town and see what they think.”
In other business, Hudson informed the 25 Gibson residents present of an imminent hike in garbage collection fees, having entered into price negotiations with Wagram Paper Stock owner Tommie Currie.
“Mr. Currie wants a raise; he wants a substantial raise,” Hudson said. “They have gone up at the landfill to $55 a ton. That is the second or third raise they’ve had in the last five years in Scotland County.”
Currently, Gibson residents pay $10 per month for weekly garbage removal, contracted by the town with Currie’s company.
“We’re going to have to have a raise - we haven’t had one in ten years and it’s just like anything else,” said Hudson. “I gave him a figure that we could probably live with and told him to give us 30 days to look, and I guarantee that we’re not going to find anybody cheaper than him.”
The council also heard a proposal from Miranda Chavis, the manager of the Hamlet Historic Depot and Museum in Richmond County.
“In the course of my research for the new exhibit for the museum, I came across a lead that led to another lead that ultimately led me to Gibson,” Chavis said. “I don’t know if you realize the amazing history that your town has. You have an incredible depot here.”
Chavis asked the council to consider lending the museum several items of historical significance, including station benches, a Railway Express Agency sign, and telegraph operator’s desk, to be exhibited for a two-year period ending in October 2014.
“I’d love to incorporate a little bit of Gibson, because you have items in this building that we have actually lost in Hamlet,” said Chavis. “I actually ended up buying a reproduction telegraph keys so that kids could learn that telegraph was the early form of text messaging if they wanted to get a message across.”
The council tabled Chavis’ proposal as well, and will vote during its September meeting on a lending contract for the specific list of items that the museum wishes to borrow.