The Gibson Town Council moved forward this week on a request to open a scrapyard and recycling center.
Dan Campbell, a Laurinburg native employed with the Laurinburg Police Department, purchased the site of Southern Gin and Fertilizer Company a month ago with a plan to expand his scrap metal business.
“If I have $100, I treat it like it’s $10 and put the rest back,” Campbell said. “When the opportunity came for me to buy Southern Gin, I took all my eggs out of my basket.”
Campbell is joined in the venture by longtime friend and fellow Laurinburg patrolman Josh Byrd. He plans to invest $200,000 into the project at the outset, upgrading his operation over time. He currently sells to several outlets, including Nucor Steel and Goldsboro Iron and Metal.
“It’s going to be baby steps, it won’t happen overnight,” he said. “I can stand here and tell ya’ll that this is going to be a booming business and we’re going to be rocking and rolling, but it isn’t going to happen.”
The Southern Gin site is in the vicinity of about five homes, but Campbell said that noise should not be an issue, as purchasing a scrap metal shredder is beyond the scope of his business.
“A shredder costs anywhere from a million or two or three million dollars and it goes up - many yards don’t have shredders,” said Campbell. “In due time, it may be a year maybe two years, the only noise will be the side tracks here, when we load train cars on the side tracks.” The yard’s proposed hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., with eventual train traffic from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Southern Gin facility is currently zoned for business, which classification does not allow for a scrapyard, according to Gibson’s lawyer, Tim Snead.
“In Gibson we have three zonings: we have agriculture, we have business, and we have residential,” said Snead. “Based on the definitions provided in each section, technically you don’t fall into any of the three of those; you don’t even fall into business as it’s currently zoned.”
Snead advised Campbell to submit an application for a variance to be reviewed by the town council and discussed publicly.
“The fact that you don’t meet the current zoning doesn’t mean it can’t happen, it just means that you have to present that application and do a little legwork,” said Snead. “What you’ll need to do is present a proposal with plans for what you propose to do, what you’re going to do with the existing structure, what is your plan, and I think the mayor and the council want a few other items.”
Following the application, a meeting will be held exclusively for public discussion of Campbell’s proposal. For the request to pass, four of the five town council members will need to vote in its favor.
In other business, the council approved a dollar increase in monthly garbage collection fees, to take effect in October. Gibson will contract with All Points Waste Service to provide trash collection at a fee of $10.50 weekly.
Following council business, Gibson’s former postmaster, Sally Odom, advised those present to support Gibson’s post office and return surveys sent to Gibson residents through the mail regarding post office hours.
“I am very concerned about the Gibson Post Office,” Odom said. “All of you have received a survey through the mail to fill out and return. I guess I’m more sentimental than the average person because I was postmaster for almost 30 years, but I would encourage everyone who got a survey to please fill it out and return it.”