By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore City Council members voted unanimously during their January 11 meeting to authorize Mayor Jim Staff to handle two multi-tiered land transactions that were part of the agreement that swayed Coastal Growers LLC to locate a new, state-of-the-art peanut shelling plant here.
The council’s approval of two separate resolutions resulted, first, in the donation of a 54.8-acre piece of property along Industrial Drive and Carpet Drive and the sale of two parcels for the shelling plant, which is already under construction. The second authorized the purchase of land for a promised rail spur that will serve the peanut mill and the surrounding manufacturing community.
The first resolution was to issue statutory warranty deeds to convey the donated land and 57.45 acres — a 29.95-acre tract and a 27.5-acre chunk of another tract — to the company building the mill — at $4,000 per acre.
The second resolution was for the purchase by the city of land adjoining U.S. 31 on which the proposed rail spur will be built.
City Attorney Larry Wettermark explained the details of the transactions to council members prior to their vote.
“In the project agreement you approved two months ago, the city — to induce this project — the council agreed to donate a parcel of land and sell two parcels,” Wettermark said. “Today, you are voting to approve conveyance to Coastal of the donated property and these two properties for a total of $229,800. As part of our inducement, we agreed to provide land for rail service from Highway 31, CSX’s main line, to these parcels to service this plant.”
That transaction actually involves three parcels of land.
“You have three parcels of property, two of them owned by Swift Lumber and one owned by Masland Carpet,” the attorney continued. “The two parcels to be acquired from Swift Timber will cost $239,400. We’ll use the money we get from Coastal to offset the purchase price of this land, and the city will have a net cost of just $9,600.”
The third parcel was not included in either of the resolutions but will soon show up on a council agenda.
“This is not the end of it,” Wettermark said. “We still have to get the railroad spur through the Masland land, so we have a separate agreement that is not on today’s agenda. That involves swapping part (about 10 acres) of these two parcels we buy from Swift, to Masland (actually, to TDG Operations, Masland’s parent company).”
In other action at the January 11 meeting, council members:
*Voted 4-0, with District 3’s Eunice Johnson abstaining, to appoint Charles Johnson as the replacement for Robert White, who recently passed away, on the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.
*Authorized the mayor to execute an agreement under which a 2.7-acre municipal tract at the junction of Alabama 21 and Innovation Parkway will be sold to local businessman Bana Ali Aboubaker for $29,403. Plans call for construction of a gas station, convenience store and buffet restaurant on the property.