Plans Advance for a Wood Products Factory Near Clarion | News

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CLARION – The Clarion County Planning Commission granted preliminary approval of land use plans for two new industries at its January meeting.

Lewis Lumber Milling Inc. of Dickson, Tennessee, plans to produce high-quality wood flooring at the site of the former Sealy plant in Strattanville Borough and Clarion Township, which it purchased in 2021.

The company plans to replicate its Tennessee flooring and plank molding plant as the business expands, and it hopes to hire 100 workers. The company also manufactures linear cabinet moldings used in the manufacture of hardwood cabinets.

Additionally, Modern Living Solutions, a fully integrated modular building company offering expertise in the design, development and delivery of modular building residential products, has purchased a 256,000 square foot industrial plant site on more than 40 acres of land in Knox. The company said it expects to create more than 50 jobs in its first full year of operation, eventually creating more than 130 total permanent jobs with future expansion phases planned.

The site was repurposed to execute pre-construction and assembly of luxury modular bathrooms to expedite the costly traditional build sequences the industry has become accustomed to with outdated construction methods.

Bathroom modules are factory-built, turnkey bathrooms sized, designed and accessorized to specific architectural plans delivered to site, fully tested and ready for immediate connection. The interspersion of bathroom modules in traditional construction consolidates more than 10 trades into a single prefabricated product.

County Engineer Kevin Reichard outlined the two companies’ demands and the changes they plan for the properties.

“The plaintiff purchased the existing 47.22-acre parcel that was formerly the Sealy mattress manufacturing company,” Reichard said of Lewis Lumber. “The applicant is now proposing the construction of a wood kiln to dry wood to produce wood flooring at this site.

“The three new buildings are proposed for construction on the site – they are 17,600 square feet, 13,280 square feet and 3,000 square feet. The existing Sealy Mattress Building will also be used for the installation.

Improvements and expansions will be made to the existing parking area at the south end of the development with gravel and asphalt construction. The stormwater management plan was approved on January 3 by Geo Tech Engineering Inc. The Clarion Conservation District approved the permit for the proposed construction. Existing municipal water and sewer will service the development. A total of 72 new parking spaces are proposed for construction, which exceeds the required number of new parking spaces needed.

At the Knox site, “the applicant proposes to construct a new 2,520 square foot model modular home on a portion of its existing gravel parking lot,” Reichard said. The proposed house would be used to showcase and display the modular building units manufactured by the company. The stormwater management plan for the proposed construction was reviewed and approved on December 30, 2021.

“Municipal water service and sewer service already exist at the plant site and both will serve the proposed house,” Reichard added. “No change request has been submitted and does not appear necessary.”

Planning Commission members Keith Decker, Eugene Metcalf, Joe Burns, Matt Johnson and Hugh Henry voted for the two preliminary approvals.

Henry Troese told the planning commission last week that he planned to build a dry camp in Highland Township.

“A dry camp is an RV campground that does not provide any hookups for electricity, water, or sewer. It’s a fully self-contained RV and they have everything inside the RV itself, and the camp is just a place to park,” he said.

Troese said he had four sites ready; but if he succeeds, he has room for 20.

Troese is also affiliated with hipcamp.com, an online marketplace company that provides outdoor vacations and camping experiences through a website and mobile app.

“Everything goes hipcamp.com. They collect the money,” Troese said. “They see the motorhome and make arrangements. They prefer two sites per acre for more privacy.

Commission members welcomed Troese’s comments and suggested that he also check with the Township of Highland regarding their sewer regulations before making a formal application to the planning commission. Arrangements can be made for a dump location for the RV’s waste water.

Laura Ludwig, Senior Community Planner with HRG (Herbert, Rowland and Grubic) of Cranberry Township in Butler County, discussed the final comprehensive plan for Clarion County, based on interviews and a needs survey in the county .

“We received 450 survey responses,” Ludwig said earlier. “We would have liked to see more responses, but we certainly got a fair amount of feedback from the 450 responses received.”

The Planning Commission approved the transfer of the plan to the Clarion County Commissioners.

The 45-day public comment period began on December 21, 2021, and formal Commissioners’ approval must be made on or after February 4.

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