City mulls temporary use permit
St. Marys City Council could have a chance to see how rezoning the mill site as industrial and adding 27 conditions that restrict operations works in real time before a proposed industrial and logistics center is built there.
Barnett Southern Corporation, based in Washington, Ga., is seeking a temporary use permit to operate a single barge for no longer than six months from the North River bulkhead on the property. The company has a contract to haul 18,700 tons of granite to Crab Island in front of Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. The rock would be brought in by dump truck, then transferred to the barge and taken to the island.
“At the end of the day, y’all done a pile of work coming up with that long document of what you don’t want in St. Marys, Ga.,” company owner and president Ames Barnett said. “We totally respect that. At the end of the day, you want growth. If I was in your chairs, it’s a good trial run. So you’re going to try it for six months. If it don’t work, go back and rewrite your document and change some things. You know, you don’t know how you look until you get your picture took. Well, you get your picture took.”
Barnett and employee Aaron Kaspriskie held a work session with council last week to explain the request. The permit application will come before the planning commission next week, then move to council if the request is approved. The property’s trustee and potential developer both support the project. The company also has a letter of permission and revocable license from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources that expire after six months and cannot be extended.
Barnett Southern picked St. Marys because it’s the shortest route at nine miles and offers fewer possibilities for delays. The contract does not allow them to move the rock — ranging from fist-size to 3-foot pieces — from Kings Bay across the channel to the island. The company has restraints on when the rock can be delivered and security measures to clear each day that could throw off the timeline and delay the project, especially on a longer route. They anticipate finishing the loads in four months.
“It’s going to eliminate project delays due to logistics,” Kaspriskie said. “… Using St. Marys is going to cut our projected duration in half, which is ultimately what all construction projects strive to do is finish ahead of schedule.”
Kaspriskie said their work won’t generate much noise beyond the current level, won’t be visible from Osborne Street, no material will be left on the site and a temporary barge dock will be removed at the end of the project. Even with the barge docked, there will be at least 180 feet of clearance between the barge and the river bank.
All trucks and rock will be contained to pavement or concrete and water trucks will be available if dust becomes a problem. All work will be limited to daylight hours five to six days a week and any damage done to city streets by the dump trucks would be immediately repaired. With an anticipated start date of April 1, Kaspriskie said dump trucks hauling 18 to 20 tons each would make approximately 600 loads for about 20 days of truck traffic.
Barnett Southern plans to hire a local trucking company and estimates its economic impact at about $150,000 including 600 hotel nights for employees, 1,800 meals and 36,000 gallons of fuel.
Improvements for St. Marys
In addition to their own project, Barnett Southern has asked the trustee and developer for permission to improve the site.
“I believe we can leave this site in better condition when we leave than the way it looks today,” Kaspriskie said. “By cleaning up, by having your input about how you would like to see that site bettered and how the owner and developer would like to see that site bettered. That’s what we’ve offered to them for them allowing us to use the site. … Let us go ahead and clean this up, make it more aesthetically pleasing, let it be more sellable to whatever comes along there because the way it looks right now is rough.”
“Just bush hogging and weed eating out there would be a tremendous help. No offense, anything we do out there is going to help,” Barnett added in closing. “… If y’all make the decision to help us, we want to make y’all proud and know that you made the right decision. I’ll stand behind that.”