By: SUE WATSON
The Springs Industrial Park recently passed the zoning board by a 4-0 vote. Board member Joe Hurdle was absent on a mission trip.
Justin Hall, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, and Ken Jones, executive director of the zoning board, fielded questions from an audience of about 30 people.
Hall said getting an industrial or commercial project in Springs Industrial Park should not take as long to get moving as the 20-plus years it took to get projects in Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park.
Some positives for Springs Park include proximity to I-22 and Highway 178, to the airport, and to rail (Burlington Northern Santa Fe).
“The first step is to get an industrial site,” Hall said. “We’re going to move quickly, but we want to have a marketable product.”
He expects the site, a joint effort of the City of Holly Springs and county, to be in a marketable position to potential industries soon after this rezoning.
The public hearing for the rezoning was a big step. Also, about 90 percent of the landowners in the approximately 3,000 acres of park have signed memoranda of understanding with IDA. Approximately 300 acres of the park are located within the city limits of Holly Springs. The remainder is in the county outside the city limits.
That means that those who sign on will work collectively with MCIDA and have their land put in the pot for possible projects.
Some questions remained about how the rezoning will change things for those who do not sign an MOU.
Hall said ad valorem taxes will not increase on properties that were rezoned unless an improvement or structure has been built following the state code. Anyone who does not build or lease their property for a business to be placed on their property, will not pay commercial or industrial tax rates until improvements are made once the property is developed.
Those who do sell land for a site and who have signed an MOU have agreed to pay a portion of the sale price of the property to IDA for infrastructure matching funds. IDA uses that money to provide necessary infrastructure for the industrial park development such as utilities and road improvements.
The choice to sell property resides strictly with the landowner. No property owner can be forced to sell land at any time to anyone. But they gain benefits of marketing, if they do want to sell to a prospective industrial or commercial enterprise.
“All those who signed off on it, if they’re happy, I’m happy,” Hall said. “At the end of the day, it is the landowner’s property and they choose whether they want to sell or not.”
Jones restated that taxes on rezoned property do not change until there is a site built out and on the ground.
Those who have signed MOUs but do not sell land are under no agreement with IDA if they do not sell their land in 10 years.
Hall said the goal of the industrial park is to see what can be done to maximize the potential for the community and the land.
Hall said a prospective company may make an arrangement with a landowner on their own. But IDA’s role is to show all available sites to prospects who want to move to Marshall County to do business.
“It is definitely up to the landowner whether they have an outright sale or a lease,” Hall said.
IDA does not set the price for a transaction. The price that the land sells or leases for is up to the company’s willingness to pay and the landowner’s willingness to accept an offer. Some properties may get a better offer due to the marketability of the land.
“At the end of the day, it is your property and you set the price,” Hall said.
Someone asked a question about possible wastes.
Hall said companies have to follow the rules laid down by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency.
“The last thing we want to do is have an unwanted or unattractive business in the area,” said Hall, in response to concerns about environmental effects of any new company.
Jones said only individuals with land with legal deeds can participate in the park development.
Properties that do not sign off with an MOU will be pulled out of the park, he said.
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