A company could invest $9.1 million into Greenwood County and create 180 new jobs, according to preliminary details of an upcoming economic development agreement Greenwood County Council considered at its meeting Tuesday.
“Project iFactory,” as county officials dubbed it, represents one or more companies seeking to bring facilities to Greenwood County. County Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the work on a fee-in-lieu-of-tax and incentive agreement between the county and the company, which offers the company a 20-year FILOT agreement with the millage rate locked at 6%, among other incentives.
In exchange, Project iFactory is expected to represent a $9.1 million capital investment in Greenwood County that will create 180 new, full-time jobs. While council approved a resolution Tuesday authorizing the agreement, council only had first reading on the ordinance for it. Council also had first reading on an ordinance to expand the Greenwood-Newberry Industrial Park boundaries to include property associated with Project iFactory.
First readings are in title only, and the ordinances did not include details identifying the nature or location of Project iFactory, or any companies involved.
Council also had first reading on an ordinance amending the planned development district on Wingert Road to allow for an automotive salvage yard on C&C Metal Recycling’s property. Other first-reading ordinances included one to define the process for electing the Greenwood County Council chairperson and vice-chairperson, another removing the county’s moratorium on “tiny houses” and an ordinance rezoning property along Highway 25 North owned by Eaton to make it consistent with neighboring properties.
Council had second reading on an ordinance to rezone about 28 acres of land along Sagewood Road, a move that would allow up to 122 single-family residences to be built on the property. The rezoning would change the minimum lot size on the land from 15,000 square feet to 10,000.
Beattie Development is developing the property, and broker Bubba Harvin with Remax spoke during a public hearing in support of rezoning.
“The problem we’ve run into is the economics just don’t work with an R-1 zoning,” he said. “We have a housing shortage in Greenwood.”
He said the rezoning will allow for smaller lots, placing more houses on the property. He said Beattie Development plans to fit 73 lots on those about 28 acres, in the price range of $225,000-$300,000. Harvin said Greenwood lacks affordable housing, and this could help address the scarcity of houses.
“Who is that affordable for,” asked Tim Dixon, who spoke in opposition to the rezoning.
Dixon lives along Sagewood Road near the incoming development, and said while he agrees there’s a housing shortage, he questioned whether houses in this price range will make a dent for most people. He cited U.S. Census Bureau data, which lists Greenwood’s median household income as about $42,000. He also said more than 70 new houses on Sagewood Road would crowd an otherwise quiet stretch of Greenwood County.
“You figure two cars per house, that’s 140 cars added to that area,” he said.
Council unanimously approved second reading on the rezoning, but council member Robbie Templeton asked about holding off on a third and final reading until council learns more about planned developments in the area. Planning Director Phil Lindler said council will have to vote on an upcoming request to rezone an additional about 80 acres of adjacent property also intended for development.
In other news:
Council member Theo Lane was unanimously elected as council vice chairperson, after Chuck Moates became council chairperson following Steve Brown’s death.
Council approved second reading on an ordinance to dissolve the Lost Lure Special Tax District.
Moates read and presented a proclamation to Leath Correctional Institution Warden Patricia Jones-Yeldell recognizing recovery month at Leath.
Council approved three new commissioners for the Raintree Special Tax District, as well as two new accommodation tax commissioners. County Treasurer Steffanie Dorn said the Accommodation Tax Commission still has one seat to fill but is seeking recommendations.