County sells 120 acres to Enviva

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday voted unanimously to sell 120 acres at the Turner Tract industrial park to Enviva Courtland Pellets for $1.3 million.

Enviva, which plans to build a $75 million plant that will employ 64 workers, will not pay the county anything the first two years and follow with five annual payments of $260,000. The county will charge no interest.

Initially hoping to build on Shady Brook Trail, Enviva chose the industrial park after residents opposed the development of the plant on 327 acres zoned for agriculture and single-family homes. The company had an option to buy the property, assuming it could get the area rezoned to industrial.

Enviva then opted for the 493-acre Turner Tract, developed by the county on Rose Valley Road.

Enviva initially was not interested in the industrial park due to the unavailability of natural gas. It’s estimated it will cost the company $700,000 to get natural gas to the Turner Tract. The county will pay the company for its costs at $70,000 annually over 10 years.

Enviva will receive $6 million to $7 million in local, state and federal funding for the project. Gov. Bob McDonnell approved a $300,000 grant that requires a match from the county.

The county’s match includes the non-interest loan for buying the land. Enviva also will be rebated $1.96 million in machinery and tools taxes over five years or 42 percent.

At the current tax rates, Enviva will pay $1.25 million the first year in machinery and tools tax and $77,000 in real estate taxes.