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Log Cabin Homes loses industrial park lot

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Though Tom Vesce of Log Cabin Homes offered an idea to add jobs in Carroll County to secure his place in the industrial park, the county administrator and the economic developer said the company owner did not follow up on that suggestion.

Carroll's Industrial Development Authority accepted a bid in 2007 from Vesce to buy land in the industrial park for his company.

After being invited to a ribbon cutting by Vesce — which they did not attend — Carroll County officials pointed out that he had not submitted plans for a facility at the industrial park.

Vesce had until the latter part of July to complete a site plan to show items like the development of a building, loading zones, parking, landscaping, utilities and more as required by the industrial park covenants.

But after Vesce suggested an additional agreement about job creation in Carroll at a previous appearance at an IDA meeting, he never actively pursued the idea, said both County Administrator Gary Larrowe and economic developer Bernie Deck at Monday's IDA meeting.

"[Vesce] has continued to not provide a site plan," Larrowe said. "He's continuing to say he's not sure what that entails even though the covenants of the industrial park have laid that out very clearly... He has failed to provide anything other than what he provided in the past."

Larrowe listed some of what he thought were the plan's several shortcomings: no landscaping plan for the property, just leaving weeds and briars; and first proposing a 12-by-12-foot building and later increasing that to 12-by-20 with no utilities to it and "calling that an industrial application."

Vesce had come back to ask county officials what it would take to get the site plan approved.

"I would contend it is not the business of the IDA to direct private business out there," Larrowe said.

Before Vesce said he would turn the lot into a timber drying yard, he told county officials he had bigger plans for it, Larrowe recalled. "He was going to put in a planer mill, he was going to hire people for a sales center — he was going to do miraculous things."

From what Larrowe understands, Vesce may have one employee in Virginia and he has no employees at all in Carroll County.

Deck tried to contact Vesce the next day by e-mail after the last IDA meeting and the additional negotiation was approved.

Deck suggested points that would need to be addressed in the site plan and the proposal regarding employment.

Vesce asked what would be required for the building, and Deck answered it needed to be a building that would support a commercial business.

"But [Vesce] didn't offer anything in terms of employees, in terms of a commercial building or in the way of an improved site plan," Deck said.

Both Deck and Larrowe tried to contact Vesce several more times.

"I would say he didn't provide anything for us to negotiate with," Deck said. "There's no give in his original position."

"I think he's been given every chance..." said IDA member Barry Hicks.

So, he made a motion that Log Cabin Homes has "failed and refused" to submit a proper site plan and has failed to start construction within the one-year time period provided in the covenants.

As a result, Hicks said in the motion that the IDA would exercise its right to repurchase the land.

After a second by IDA member Larry Chambers, the motion was approved unanimously.