Major manufacturing prospect relocates plan for 150-foot structure

Published 8:48 am Friday, February 2, 2018

‘Project Eagle’ 2.0

“Project Eagle,” a potential $100 million, 275-job industrial project being courted by Boyle County, is now interested in a different location closer to downtown Danville.

According to an application filed with Planning and Zoning on Jan. 25, the prospective business “now requires a lot with sufficient acreage for its facility that is directly rail-served by Norfolk Southern’s Danville Terminal.”

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The application seeks a variance from the Board of Adjustments that would allow a structure up to 150 feet tall somewhere on an approximately 200-acre tract currently owned by railroad company Norfolk Southern. The land runs along the west side of Norfolk Southern’s rail line through Danville, from near the viaduct on Perryville Road to the railroad crossing on the U.S. 150 Bypass.

Jody Lassiter, president of the the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership filed the application. The EDP previously asked for and received the same variance on an approximately 54-acre tract of land in the industrial park to the west of the bypass.

Further details about the project, including what the 150-foot structure might be, have not been released. When the Board of Adjustments approved the first variance in January, Lassiter said he couldn’t divulge much because he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Lassiter also said at the January Board of Adjustments meeting that Danville is on a “short list among three states” for the economic development project.

“The issue at hand is without a variance, Danville will be eliminated,” Lassiter said at the time. “… The decision-making process is right now; February will be the determination.”

The new application similarly notes that the variance for a 150-foot structure is needed “so that our community will not be eliminated as a candidate for the project’s location.”

When the Board of Adjustments approved the original variance in January, it required that if the business did not ultimately locate on the industrial park land, the variance would be voided. The new application states the EDP will use the $275 filing fee it paid for the now-voided variance to pay for its new variance request.

Letters announcing the variance request were sent out Wednesday to adjacent property owners. The letter includes a map of the area and the time of the Board of Adjustments meeting when a public hearing will be held — 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at Danville City Hall.

Hunter said the P&Z office consulted with the Property Valuation Adminstrator’s office concerning the eastern edge of the property, which is bordered by Norfolk Southern’s railroad. None of the property owners on the other side of the railroad were sent notification letters because they do not technically border the property in question, he said.

There was some opposition to granting the variance the first time around: Board of Adjustments member David Anderson expressed concerns about potential unknown dangers, including “carcinogens” that could be released into the community if the 150-foot structure is for a glass manufacturing cooling tower.

“We are charged with protecting the community’s health and safety and welfare and the essential character of the area, and we don’t have enough information to assure that whatever this is will not affect any of those things,” Anderson said at the time.

A motion by Anderson to deny the variance failed 2-4; a motion to approve the variance succeeded 4-2.


The Board of Adjustments will hold a public hearing on whether to grant a variance allowing a 150-foot-tall structure on an approximately 200-acre tract of land along Norfolk Southern’s railroad during its next regular meeting, 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at Danville City Hall.