The quasi-judicial public hearing at the April 3 Gads- den County Board of County Commissioners meeting ended up as a win-win for all involved.
The Hoover Treated Wood Products company finally got official approval to go forward with its project north of Havana to build a plant to apply flame-retardant material to wood products which the company says will help it meet the needs of its growing Florida market.
The nearby Tall Timbers esearch Station and Land Conservancy, as well as a group of nearby residents to the project along Potter Woodberry Road repre- sented by Tallahassee envi- ronmental lawyer Randall Denker, also had signed agreements with the com- pany by the end of the meeting.
These agreements represented that these groups got the necessary conces- sions from Hoover to quit their opposition to the project which they had displayed earlier during the project’s two appear- ances before the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
The agreement with the neighbors and Hoover, represented by the Talla- hassee-based Carlton Fields law firm, was even finalized at the April 3 County Commission meeting itself.
At that meeting, Tim Borris, vice president of operations for the com- pany, committed to hiring 15 employees for the plant with an average salary of $40,000 per year.
Borris added that the Hoover company has a strong preference for hiring locally and expects to be good neighbors and contribute financially to the county.
Carlton Fields attorney Doug Hall reaffirmed that no chemicals will be used in the Hoover manufac- turing process that were on any dangerous chemi- cal list and if there is a breach in the manufactur- ing process it will be contained entirely in the production building.
In response to a question by Commissioner Sherrie Taylor about whether there were health-related issues at any of Hoover’s other nine plants, Borris said that while there have been accidents, there have been no health-related is- sues in his 30 years of employment at the Hoover company.
Commissioner Anthony Viegbesie — whose dis- trict the plant will be in and who also lives in that neighborhood — summed up the feelings of the com- missioners when he thanked the residents and company for their “civility in working out harmonious compromise.”
Story By: Randall Lieberman