Jacksonville Planning Commission OKs Shelco expansion plans
by Laura Gaddy
Jan 24, 2014 | 2762 views |  0 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Jacksonville Planning Commission approved on Thursday building plans for Shelco Foundries, a company that manufactures iron engine components.

The commission approved construction plans for a 200-by-300-foot prefabricated building for the company, said Jacksonville City Planner Lynn Causey. The new structure will include 1,876 square feet for office space and it will adjoin one of the two existing structures at the company's West Francis Street location.

“It’s substantial,” Causey said. “We’re excited about it.”

Harold Forsythe, owner of the Forsythe Building Company, presented the plans to the commission. Members asked Forsythe to slightly change plans for a fire hydrant, the handicapped parking spaces and signage; the body’s approval is conditional upon making those changes.

Members also said the company will have to finalize an agreement stating that the water lines on the property belong to Shelco.

The commission’s decision is one of a series of steps the company must go through to expand its Jacksonville location, Causey said.

In October the commission approved company’s grading plans on the property, a step necessary to prepare the site for construction. Causey also said Shelco Foundries will still have to obtain a building permit, a process that usually takes less than a week, before it can move forward with its plans.

The commission is responsible for evaluating the exterior changes — including lighting, utility connections and property entrances and exits — for businesses in Jacksonville. Interior building plans, including electrical, plumbing and the sprinkler system, must be approved by the city’s building inspector and fire chief, she said.

The Jacksonville City Council has also taken steps to encourage Shelco to expand its local foundry. For example, the council in October granted the company’s request for a tax abatement.

Shelco, which is owned by the Italian-based company Gnutti Carlo, casts parts for car engines and the engines in heavy equipment. Its customers include Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Caterpillar, according to the company’s website.

In other business the commission:

— Approved landscaping plans for Legacy Village, a retirement and assisted living facility on James Hopkins Road.

— Met with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission to further develop a comprehensive plan for the city. In discussion about community facilities, Principal Planner Ryan Kallem said one of the city's objectives should be realigning the city's fire departments to help improve residents’ insurance ratings.

Currently, residents in Jacksonville's fire district have insurance ratings that range between five and 10, with 10 being the worst, said fire Chief Wade Buckner. He said the department is already taking steps to improve the rating.

The chief said his long-term plan for the department includes a realignment to place fire stations nearer public buildings and residents' homes. Buckner said the department is also establishing agreements with volunteer departments to ensure residents in rural areas have more coverage.

- Expressed its intent to send Jacksonville City Schools a letter to remind school officials of the Planning Commission's procedures. The school system will be required to complete the building review process when it finalizes plans to build a new elementary school.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.

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