White Street Brewing and Xerium look to expand to Youngsville.
by Jonathan McNamara
LOUISBURG — Two incentive requests were approved by a unanimous vote of the county commissioners Monday, contingent on them adding jobs to the county.
A public hearing was held to discuss a proposal to offer incentives to White Street Brewing Company, located in Wake Forest, to expand its manufacturing into Youngsville.
Commissioners voted to share $48,000 of the cost of the project from revenues of the Franklin County general fund on the recommendation of the Economic Development Commission.
The board hopes the project will stimulate the local economy and bring more business to the county.
White Street Brewing Company currently operates a brewery and a tap room located in downtown Wake Forest.
“Demand and reception has been nothing short of phenomenal,” owner Dino Radosta said at the hearing.
White Street’s brewery is located in a 4,000-square foot area connected to the tap room.
Radosta hopes to move the majority of the manufacturing facilities to a 56,000-square foot space at 400 Park Ave., in Youngsville, enabling production to keep up with demand.
There simply isn’t room at the Wake Forest site to expand, Rodasta said later.
The Youngsville site would handle the majority of the brewing, but specialty beers would continue to be brewed in Wake Forest, and the tap room would remain open, he added.
The expansion would create 20 jobs in Youngsville in the first year and a total of 35 jobs after four years, he said.
A public hearing was also held for Xerium Technologies, Inc., 14101 Capital Blvd., Youngsville on a proposal to move their international headquarters, currently located in Raleigh, to the Youngsville site.
Xerium is a manufacturer and supplier of two types of consumable products used in paper production: machine clothing and roll covers for paper-making machines.
Commissioners voted unanimously to spend $48,000 for Xerium too, on the promise that both industries will promote job growth and spur economic activity.
Xerium Technonlogies currently employs 54 full-time employees at the Youngsville site and will move 36 full-time jobs from Raleigh to Youngsville.
•Franklin County will add another solar farm, in its effort to have a hand in promoting alternative energy.
Approximately 17 acres of a 126-acre parcel at 2024 White Level Road will be the new site that Community Energy Solar, Radnor, Pa., will begin building Franklin Solar 2.
Residents may remember Community Energy Solar as the company that built the county’s first solar farm in the Cedar Rock township on Firetower Road near Edward Best Elementary.
Chris Killenberg, director for business development for Community Energy Solar, was present for the public hearing.
He said the company chose the spot due to its location near an electric substation and the land being fairly flat and sloped downward from the road was an added benefit.
The new solar farm is slated to produce two megawatts of power during peak time, enough electricity to power 350 households.
Guarded by a six-foot security fence, the solar farm will go almost unnoticed from the street, officials say.
No new jobs will come from the new project, however the labor to build the panels will be N.C. based and the racks used to support the solar panels are made in the U.S.
The impact it will have on the surrounding community will be minimal, officials say, with no maintenance, noise or emissions to affect neighbors.
The county can look at pocketing around $10,000 a year in taxes from the farm, versus around $1,000 from the taxes currently being generated from the current use of vacant land, according to Scott Hammerbacher, Franklin County Planning director.
•Franklin County was awarded $170,000 by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency under the 2013 cycle of the Single-Family Rehabilitation Program.
Commissioners agreed on developing an assistance policy to regulate homeowner inclusion into the program, criteria for ranking homeowner applications, terms of assistance, complaint procedures and contractor bidding and eligible repairs.
•A request for rezoning of approximately 1.21 acres for Elmo B. May, 812 N.C. 39, Louisburg, for light industrial use rather than residential use for agricultural purposes, was also approved.
Hammerbacher presented a proposal to consider adoption of a text amendment to the Franklin County Unified Development Ordinance to amend article 2; basic definitions and interpretations, article 6; district regulations, and article 7; conditional uses to allow distilleries, breweries and wineries.
Upon further discussion on whether or not a person wanting to open a brewery in a residential area would need to apply for a conditional-use permit. Commissioners determined a special-use permit would bw needed and sent it back for further review.
— Associate Editor David Leone contributed to this report.