With Mountaire Farms having recently proposed rerouting part of Hosier Street next to its poultry processing plant, the Selbyville Town Council wants to clarify that it’s not interested in closing the road.
As property owners, the company officially requested that Selbyville create a committee to study Hosier Street traffic options and eventually bring a solution to town council. Having hired an engineering firm, Mountaire’s most radical suggestion was for the Town to close and “abandon” Hosier Street in the area next to the plant and possibly reroute its public traffic though an existing parking lot.
The council this week repeated their January comments: They’re not interested in closing Hosier Street — but they created a committee to study the problem.
“Reading the paper, it sounds like the Town is initiating this, but it’s not,” said Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr. on Feb. 4 of some news coverage of the proposal. “Mountaire is the one initiating this. … It’s more to get them so they can get their trucks into the plant than it is for traffic.
“Their proposal was that we just kind of bypass around the parking lot, they build a new street through there, so [traffic] can go around wherever trucks are backing in,” Tingle added.
“It also sounds like we were going to even consider the possibility of closing Hosier Street. We have no possibility of closing Hosier Street,” Mayor Clifton Murray said.
Hosier Street connects Main Street to the Route 113 highway. Property along the street houses most of Mountaire’s Selbyville facilities, two Indian River School District buildings and businesses in the Mason Dixon Shopping Center, which includes Food Lion, as well as some residential properties.
Mountaire had gone so far as to propose a $1 million “donation” from the company to the Town as part of the arrangement, because when a street is abandoned, the property automatically reverts to the neighbors without any payment.
While their initial reaction to the proposal was less than warm, the council did create an ad hoc committee to research Hosier Street traffic issues around Mountaire. It will include all five council members, plus representatives from Mountaire, the Indian River School District, Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company and Selbyville Police Department.
Mayor Clifton Murray said they’re “just getting started. There’s a lot to look at.” Meetings will be open to the public and announced beforehand.
“There will be public hearings if it goes far enough,” Councilman Jay Murray said.
In other Selbyville Town Council news:
• The deadline for voter or candidate registration for the 2019 election is Feb. 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Selbyville Town Hall. Two seats are up for election. Candidates must be at least age 21; a U.S. citizen; and a bona fide resident of the town for at least one year prior to election. Voters must be at least age 18; a U.S. citizen; and a bona fide resident of the town.
• The Railroad Avenue culvert replacement will finally begin around Feb. 18, in a 60-day project.
“We’re looking forward to finally have this project start,” said Town Manager Stacey Long.
• To address concerns about odors at the poultry processing plant, Mountaire Farms is now considering a proposal to eliminate the odor, not just mask it. Town council members agreed that the current disinfectant scent is, at times, obvious. The outdoors sometimes smells like household air freshener.
• The Selbyville Police Department’s newest police officer is working on the street, while the SPD prepares to choose a new recruit for police academy this spring. The Town also hired a new public works/water operator, to begin work this month.
• Water pressure has gotten a boost on the east side of town. Selbyville is supplementing its own water supply with help from Artesian Water Company. The new interconnect pipe has opened, increasing water pressure by 10 psi in the Lighthouse Lakes neighborhood. Flow can be increased more to fit future demand.
Selbyville has its own wells and water treatment plant, but as more property owners have annexed into town, water pressure decreases farther away from the source. The interconnect ensures better flow for residents and firefighting emergencies.
• On the eve of a public referendum, IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele explained to the council the school district’s proposal for new construction. The referendum was ultimately defeated by a 10 percent margin on Feb. 5. A second referendum can be held in the near future, should the district wish to do so.
• Kids Art Month will be celebrated in Selbyville in March, including a public reception at Selbyville Public Library, as well as artwork hung around town at local businesses. The town council donated $300 toward the efforts of the Selbyville Community Club.
• After another successful “Coats & Sweats for Vets” clothing drive, Selbyville Community Club’s Rita Hollada thanked the public and Town Hall for their partnership.
• Humphree USA will rent space in the Industrial Park, to sell boat stabilization equipment.
The Selbyville Town Council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m.
By Laura Walter