County approves TROSA zoning change

County approves TROSA zoning change
September 27
04:00 2018

Forsyth County commissioners approved a zoning change that may allow TROSA to open a Triad location for its rehab services and voted 5-2 for nearly $2.4 million in incentives for Cook Medical to keep its 650 jobs in Winston-Salem during their meeting last week.

Commissioners unanimously approved a new zoning use to allow for a group care facility of up to 250 residents at the request of TROSA, a nonprofit in Durham that offers comprehensive treatment for those struggling with substance abuse. Previously, county zoning only allowed a group care facility of up to 40 residents. The new zoning use is called “Group Care Facility C” and would be in General Business districts with Special Use District Rezoning that is approved by county commissioners. The city is expected to vote on the same zoning amendment in its Oct. 1 meeting.

TROSA offers a two year residential treatment program that includes vocational training at no expense to clients. The nonprofit funds itself through a variety of social enterprises, including a thrift store and a lawn care business.

The rehab program serves people from around the state at its Durham facility. The Triad was chosen for its second location because Forsyth and Guilford are among the top five counties its clients come from. TROSA is expected to a pick a site for the new location in the coming months.

The commissioners had a split vote over incentives for Cook Medical of up to $2,387,550 over a 10-year period. The company has run out of space at its current location and was considering moving to Stokes County, where it could build larger facilities.  The incentives help offset the company’s relocation to a building in Whitaker Park that’ll cost far more money to transform.

“I appreciate their many contributions to the community,” said County Commissioner Vice Chairman Don Martin. “I’m pleased to move that we support this economic development to allow them to relocate.”

The incentive is for $2,387,550 over a 10-year period. This is approximately 60 percent of property taxes that will be generated by the capital investments. The agreement is contingent on the company making at least $55 million in building capital investment over one year and adding at least 50 new full-time or full-time equivalent jobs with an average wage of at least $38,000 over 10 years along with retaining the current 650 jobs.

The two “no” votes were from Commissioners Gloria Whisenhunt and Richard Linville. Both said that Cook was a good company and that they didn’t object to the idea of giving Cook an incentive, just to the way it was done.

“I’m very appreciative of Cook being here and I think they have a great organization and provide a lot of jobs,” said Whisenhunt.

Both of their objections stemmed from the agreement deviating from the county’s usual practice of incentives being 50 percent of taxes generated by a project over five years. This has been an informal standard the county has sometimes deviated from in the past. Whisenhunt also felt the 50 new jobs weren’t enough to justify the $2.4 million.

The city already approved $2.46 million in incentives over 10 years for Cook, which is 75 percent of the new, net taxes generated by the project.

Also during the meeting:

*Commissioners approved changing a property from city to county zoning, since it has been de-annexed from the city. The property on Hilltop Drive was annexed into the city at the request of its owner to meet a requirement for senior city personnel to live within city limits. Now that he’s retired, he asked state lawmakers for a local act to de-annex the property, which was passed in June.

*Commissioners approved the sale of 40,000 gallons of fuel oil contained in two tanks underneath the Hall of Justice. The 25-year-old oil is being sold for $18,000, or 45 cents a gallon, to Noble Oil Service, Inc. The oil was used to heat the courthouse many years ago and has been maintained by the county’s General Services department. Noble Oil was the only company to make an offer for the oil.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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