FORT MILL, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — York County families, state officials and solar company representatives met in heated debate over what the future of the Fort Mill community could look like. 

Silfab Solar has been in the process of establishing a solar-power panel manufacturing plant at an industrial facility off U.S. 21, which has been met with excitement by some, and disdain by others.   

The support centers around the economic impact the additional 800 jobs over eight years that it could bring to the community.   

The opposition centers around the site location and the potential environmental impact.   

The site sits adjacent to a site that will soon house a pair of schools. 

Monday night, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control held public hearings with a Q&A session to address neighbors’ concerns. 

DHEC is currently reviewing permit request for air and water so the site can begin operations. Its representatives outlined how air quality emissions stay well below the threshold federal regulators put in place for harmful chemicals being distributed.   

They also referred to the Logistics Lane site as being a “small” and “minor” location.   

Some in attendance said they did not believe the numbers presented to them. Still, multiple parents and teachers expressed their concern for hazardous material being so close to a school.

“What happens if, God forbid, there is a disaster, a spill?” one individual asked.   

A Silfab facility manager answered that question, to many boos, that they would have a risk management plan in place, but that it had not been done yet.   

They also responded to concerns regarding the proximity of the site to schools.   

“You have a gas station less than half a mile from the school, yet, you haven’t mentioned any concerns about the gas station being toxic to children, or the gasoline,” they said.  

DHEC has not set a timeline for when a decision will be made on if the permits would be approved.