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Forsite scraps plans to use Statesville Avenue site

Tom McKittrick, president of Forsite Development, the developer of the ReVenture Park project, said his company has abandoned plans to use a Statesville Avenue site for a processing center for county garbage that would be burned to make electricity.

An Amble Drive facility, which is on the same road as the county’s recycling center, is now the likely location for the facility because of the “significant amount of time” it would take to receive permits for the Statesville Avenue site, McKittrick said.

McKittrick described the change of plans Friday after the Central Piedmont Sierra Club, in a press release issued the same day, said the agency had learned that a proposed land swap deal between the city of Charlotte and ReVenture is dead and that the city is now considering paying ReVenture $6.1 million for land to build a wastewater-treatment plant.

To read Sierra’s Club’s press release, click here.

The original plan for ReVenture, a proposed 667-acre eco-industrial park with a plant that would burn the county’s garbage to power homes, called for a land swap between the city and ReVenture, Sierra Club said in its release, adding that under the deal the city would exchange the Statesville Avenue landfill site for a portion of the ReVenture site in order to build a wastewater-treatment facility.

A presentation from a city economic development committee meeting held Thursday shows the cost to the city for the land is $6.13 million.

McKittrick said the press release is “completely full of inaccuracies.”

That the city has engaged in talks to purchase the land at ReVenture for a wastewater-treatment plant is not new, he said. He declined to release the cost of the purchase that is being discussed between Forsite and the city.

“We’ve always had two options,” McKittrick said. “We were hoping to use Statesville, but Plan B is in the same area. It’s right down the street.”

City Councilman Andy Dulin said the problem with the Statesville location is that there are many residences near the site.

“There’s more homes over there than I knew about it,” said Dulin, who sits on the economic development committee and attended the meeting Thursday.

The Sierra Club’s press release also claims that Mecklenburg County may be forced to use the Foxhole landfill on U.S. Route 521 near Ballantyne to dispose of its municipal solid waste. Currently, that landfill is only used for construction and demolition debris. The city’s municipal solid waste is disposed of in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Landfill, but an operating agreement with that landfill is set to expire June 30, 2012.

“That’s completely disingenuous and not true,” McKittrick said Friday. “The county always has Foxhole as an option for landfilling, and that was the point that was made yesterday.”

He said the county collects 1.3 million tons of residential and commercial waste a year. ReVenture will be able to handle 575,000 tons of that waste and use it as a fuel source for its biomass incinerator.

“That’s a substantial number,” Dulin said. “If City Council wants to be a leader in the nation in energy, we owe it to our community to look at things like this.”

City spokeswoman Kim McMillan said a resolution, which will likely be signed Monday at a City Council meeting, does not financially obligate the city in any way. The resolution to amend the county’s 10-year solid waste management plan merely allows for Reventure to continue the process of applying for permits, she said.

McKittrick said Forsite cannot submit permit applications with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources unless it is listed as an option on the county’s solid waste management plan.

ReVenture is slated for the former Clariant Corp. chemical plant site. The location along the Catawba River is a Superfund site, a federal designation given to heavily contaminated areas that pose health and environmental risks.

McKittrick said Forsite is still interested in redeveloping the Statesville Avenue location for a separate project in the future.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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