New wood mill will provide jobs
By John M. Ayers
The Gilchrist County Commission listened on Monday as Sandra Joseph, representing the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, presented an application for a Special Use Permit (SUP) for a wood mill south of Trenton.
The property agent, Adam Overstreet, had submitted an application to allow a wood mill be located on 60 acres of A-2 property southeast of State Road 26.
The SUP would allow American Biomass & Trading Company, LLC to construct a pellet facility that would generate 150,000 tons of pellets a year in Trenton.
Once the mill is up and running it will create new jobs in the community, while acting as a partner to the local timber market.
It is the company’s intent to build a facility on roughly 30 acres and have the final product transported to one of the ports via truck. The company will be taking in 300,000 tons a year of yellow pine from local timber growers and chipping the wood on site into a size that can be compressed. Once the material is chipped, it will move through the facility and be heated to 600 degrees to get rid of moisture. The wood will then pass through a hammer mill, which will turn the wood into a paste like substance. In the final stages, the wood paste will pass through a press machine that will turn the wood to a final pellet form. The pellets will be stored on site for a limited time prior to being relocated for transportation purposes.
Joseph reported to the board that the Planning Council had not received any information or comments from the public on this application.
According to Joseph, the application is consistent with the Gilchrist County Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Joseph suggested the commission review the different criteria identified in the Land Development Regulations and said that after staff review, the council recommends approval of the application with identified conditions in the report.
Commissioner D. Ray Harrison, Jr. made a motion to approve SUP 12-01 as the planning council had presented it to the Commission with the identified conditions. Commissioner Sharon Langford agreed and gave a second to the motion for discussion. Commission Chairman Tommy Langford asked if there was any comment from the public involving SUP 12-01.
Charlie Perez asked the Commission if there would be a water source on the property in case of fire emergency. He said that if the facility would be heating up the chipped material to 600 degrees, a water source for fire purposes could be needed. The commissioners explained that this type of specific would be identified in a construction site plan that would be submitted to the board in the future.
Commission Chair Langford asked Adam Overstreet if he would like to comment to the commission on the application. Overstreet addressed the board and explained the existing mill now on the property would be removed before the new project would be constructed. The board asked the Gilchrist County resident if he had an idea when the new facility would be completed, and he responded that it would likely be one to two years depending on the company involved in the project.
The Commission approved SUP 12-01 by a 5-0 vote. The board thanked Overstreet for working to have this type of manufacturing facility built in Gilchrist County.