Forest Pro contract extended

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Representatives of the Heartland Regional Industrial Facility Authority voted to extend a contract between the authority and Forest Pro during the authority’s meeting last Tuesday.

Forest Pro is building a location adjacent to the main entrance of the Heartland Industrial Park.

Authority Chairman Gary Walker noted a contract between Forest Pro and the Heartland Authority that stated Forest Pro would need to make construction corrections, particularly in fulfilling site requirements by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), by Dec. 31, 2017.

A copy of the contract was included in the January 2017 board meeting minutes.

“We had written in their contract if (the owner) wasn’t able to complete it by the end of the year we would give him an extension,” Walker said.

The contract cites, “However, (Forest Pro Company) shall have the right to apply to Authority for an extension of the Dec. 31, 2017 deadline, and Authority shall have the right, but not the duty, to grant the request of the Company for a deadline extension.”

Walker noted challenges the company has experienced in building at the site, including reaching agreements with the DEQ and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The authority previously agreed to pay $40,000 in reimbursements to Forest Pro, providing set provisions were met after construction of the new business.

“They learned late in the process, and I think late in 2016, that there was going to be a cost associated with their project which they had not anticipated,” said Russell Slayton, the authority’s attorney, during the authority’s first meeting in 2017 in reference to Forest Pro.

According to Slayton, officials with Forest Pro spoke with Walker and learned the cost would be about $80,000.

The $80,000 fee is not associated with only a DEQ permit, according to Slayton, but a phosphorus remediation charge at the site.

While there are three ways remediation could be accomplished, Slayton said the option of purchasing DEQ-approved credits would cost just more than $83,000 in addition to $2,700 for a DEQ permit, totaling around $86,000.

“The $86,000 exceeds the amount that was discussed,” Slayton said, noting both parties were unaware of the additional fee at the time of the sale.

Members of the authority voted in favor of extending the contract with Forest Pro for 90 days.

Walker noted that development continues to take place at the Forest Pro site, which is adjacent to the left of the park’s main entrance.

“You notice when you came in they have poured concrete on the pavement,” Walker said. “If you look at the parking lot, the building is actually sitting there in the parking lot over there. They’re making progress.”