County sees uptick in fast-track projects

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MAT­TIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— Ce­cil County Di­rec­tor of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Lisa Webb said there’s been a re­cent in­crease in busi­ness prospects seek­ing fast-track ap­proval for per­mits – although she’s not al­lowed to an­nounce any names yet.

“Hope­fully in a cou­ple of weeks,” Webb said. “All I can say at this point is that three large projects are cur­rently be­ing fast-tracked and oth­ers are in­ter­ested in our fast-track process.”

ELK­TON

How­ever, County Coun­cil­man Dan Sch­neck­en­burger, who is run­ning for county ex­ec­u­tive, an­nounced the iden­tity of one of the prospects Fri­day night dur­ing a can­di­date fo­rum spon­sored by the Ce­cil County Chap­ter of the NAACP.

“We’ve at­tracted a Ger­man com­pany with 250 jobs to Per­ryville,” Sch­neck­en­burger said while telling the au­di­ence about his em­pha­sis on eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

“I can’t con­firm this in­for­ma­tion due to a signed non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment,” Webb said, adding, “This puts me in an awk­ward po­si­tion.”

Later, Sch­neck­en­burger con­firmed that Lidl, a Ger­man su­per­mar­ket re­tailer, is go­ing to put in a dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter in Prin­ci­pio. He said he found out the iden­tity when his em­ployer re­ceived a re­quest to bid on some work for this project.

Lidl, ac­cord­ing to its web­site, is launch­ing an ex­pan­sion in the mid-At­lantic states with re­tail lo­ca­tions set to go into the re­gion,

in­clud­ing the town of Elk­ton within the next sev­eral months.

A 36,170-square-foot re­tail gro­cery store is up for fi­nal plat ap­proval Mon­day night at the town’s plan­ning com­mis­sion.

The three fast-track projects are all go­ing into Prin­ci­pio Busi­ness Park on Route 40. One of the three is a “spec” build­ing with­out a ten­ant yet, but the other two have ten­ants lined up.

Webb said con­cept de­signs for the three projects to­tal slightly more than 2.2 mil­lion square-feet of new ware­hous­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, of­fice and plant pro­cess­ing space. They also have the po­ten­tial to cre­ate more than 1,800 jobs over­time.

“Two of the projects will be done in phases, adding some jobs right away and oth­ers later,” she said. “We’re see­ing a surge of prospects and are happy with the ef­fort from our county de­part­ments who have been work­ing to­gether to help these prospects

through the fast track process,” Webb said.

Fast-track is a process that Ce­cil County started more than a decade ago to help job-cre­at­ing com­pa­nies cut through ap­provals faster than nor­mal.

Any project that is ex­pected to cre­ate at least 30 new jobs and will oc­cupy at least 30,000 square-feet of new con­struc­tion qual­i­fies for “fast-track,” ac­cord­ing to Webb. Although, the county is some­what flex­i­ble with the re­quire­ments for con­sid­er­a­tion.

“Fast-track’s suc­cess is based on co­op­er­a­tion among client, con­sul­tants and county of­fi­cials,” Webb said. “We know time is crit­i­cal.”

Since its im­ple­men­ta­tion, the fast-track process has ap­proved 20 projects in Ce­cil County. Some of the pre­vi­ous projects that were fast-tracked here are IKEA, War­wick Mush­room and Restora­tion Hard­ware.

For more in­for­ma­tion about fast-track­ing, con­tact Ce­cil County Of­fice of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment at 410996-6292 or Ce­cil County De­part­ment of Per­mits and In­spec­tions at 410-996-5235.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ECO­NOMIC DEVEL­OP­MENT OF­FICE

A real es­tate sign at the en­trance to Prin­ci­pio Busi­ness Park ad­ver­tises the avail­abil­ity of 1.2 mil­lion square feet.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Marc DiSciullo (cen­ter) plays with the MaKey MaKey, which con­trols a com­puter with or­di­nary ob­jects.

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