Council to consider mill site zoning
St. Marys City Council has called a special meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, May 9, for the sole purpose of considering the application to rezone the former paper mill property. The meeting will be in the cafeteria of St. Marys Elementary School.
Council discussed the application in an April work session and had placed the item on its April 4 agenda but concerns over last-minute changes to a list of conditions delayed a decision. The planning commission recommended approval with conditions in March, bumping the application to council.
Residents have spoken ardently about the issue at multiple public meetings since the applicant — the Port of St. Marys LLC headed by Chris Ragucci — requested a zoning change in November from mixed use to planned development industrial to build a proposed industrial and logistics center.
The idea is for manufacturing companies to populate the site and bring in raw materials by rail or barge, then send out the final product the same way for domestic and international distribution. A barge dock would only be added if a company needs it and the amount of usage makes the investment feasible. An end user has not been named and industrial zoning will be essential in landing users, Ragucci has said.
“We want to make things again,” Ragucci said in December. “We want to manufacture. We want to assemble. We want to provide value. We have, I think, here an incredibly capable workforce, well trained, well educated. You have an excellent education system. All of that cries out for manufacturing.”
Because of its size, the project was deemed a development of regional impact and has also been reviewed by the Coastal Regional Commission.