After hearing opposition from a number of local residents, the Midlothian City Council approved a zoning change at Tuesday night’s semi-monthly meeting that will allow for construction of a 24,000-square-foot warehouse with professional offices.
The vote was 4-2, with Mayor Richard Reno and council member Mike Rodgers in opposition. Council members Wayne Sibley, Ted Miller, Clark Wickliffe and Justin Coffman voted for it.
The property, which is a little less than 27 acres, is located on the north side of Forbes Road west of V.V. Jones Road, southwest of the industrial portion of the city. Its zoning was changed from Agricultural to Planned Development District No. 129.
City planning director Trenton Robertson said the planned development district limits the uses for the property, and any other use would not be allowed without going back through the public hearing process. Robertson said the property lies in the industrial module according to the city’s comprehensive land use plan.
Residents from outside of city limits who live near the proposed warehouse objected on several grounds: increased vehicle traffic, noise and light pollution, and the general loss of rural scenery.
Joshua Denham, a nearby resident, spoke against the development, saying he moved to his property for the agriculture.
“I have three kids that love to run outside,” he said. “They’re learning everything about the outdoors. But when you put a building there, there’s trucks going by, and they lose the view. When you look out, you just see greenery and it’s a quiet area. That’s why I moved there.”
Lewis Barlow, another nearby resident, also opposed the building, saying there isn’t enough infrastructure at that location and the city still has several other industrial locations that are undeveloped.
Edward Beilfuss, another resident, said the warehouse would be little more than a stepping stone to manufacturing, which would change the neighborhood.
The owner of the property, Nathan Zhu, said that the use of the warehouse would be for storage only and no manufacturing would take place on site, and that traffic on Forbes Road would not increase substantially. Zhu said he was willing to work with the city on beautification of the property.
Council member Rodgers said his greatest concern is setting a precedent where everything in the comprehensive plan that is industrial module becomes industrial, eventually abutting residential areas. “Where does it stop? That’s my point,” Rodgers said.
The ordinance was amended to stipulate no outdoor storage allowed, and that the height of the warehouse cannot exceed 35 feet at the eaves and 50 feet at its peak, which is the city’s maximum standards for light industrial. The original plan for the warehouse called for 41 and 56 feet respectively.
• Mayor Reno read a proclamation declaring March as Legacy Chapter of the Order of DeMolay Month in the city of Midlothian.
• Laura Terhune, president and CEO of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the Council and invited them to the Ellis County Expo, which will be held Saturday, as well as a luncheon next Tuesday at the Midlothian Conference Center where the city’s downtown master plan will be discussed. On Wednesday, April 8, the Texas Department of Transportation will provide an update on local projects at the Chamber luncheon.
• The zoning change of a 21.9-acre property east of Onward Road and north of Mockingbird Road from Agricultural to Planned Development District No. 128 for residential uses was approved 6-0 with changes.
• The council OK’d Midlothian Community Development Corporation funding of the Community Park Phase II project and use of Type B sales tax revenues for the project, to include the potential issuance of bonds. City Manager Chris Dick said the park is still in the design stage.
• The council authorized a $76,900 grant rom the MCDC to Manna House for the purchase of pre-packaged school supplies for the Back to School Bash.
• The council authorized the Midlothian Police Department to donate two “out of service” vehicles and associated equipment to the Richland Police Department.