Georgetown planning commission votes on future plans for steel mill

During a Georgetown City Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night ArcleorMittal fought against a rezoning ordinance that could potentially be a “death sentence” for the Georgetown steel rod mill.

According to WMBF, the planning commission voted against the rezoning four to three.

Last Friday ArcelorMittal announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell its steel rod mill in Georgetown to Liberty House Group.

The Sun News reported that shortly before the announcement, the city of Georgetown pushed to redevelop the site, including the rezoning of the land to block industrial uses.

“While there have been public statements recently that the rezoning will ‘grandfather’ the use of the site as a steel mill, we want to be clear that this is not realistic,” said Keith Nagel, Director for Environmental Affairs and Real Estate at ArcleorMittal, in a press release. “The rezoning ordinance only guarantees that the site could be used as a steel mill for another five years. It also says that the structure of the steel mill cannot be substantially improved during those five years.”

James Sanderson, president of United Steel Workers Local 7898 union, told The Sun News last week that 300 to 350 jobs could come to the mill.

“The rezoning ordinance would be a death sentence for our agreement with Liberty House, and for steel jobs in Georgetown,” said Nagel.

According to Nagel, the rezoning planned by the city would result in office use, retail and residential properties.

“If this ordinance is passed, and causes the potential buyer – or other potential [buyers] – to walk away because operations are impossible from a business standpoint, we will have no choice but to pursue legal action for the inverse condemnation damages we will incur from the passage of what is before you tonight,” said Nagel.

The mill stopped production officially in August 2015.

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic