Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2007

Engineered Air site plan to be considered

June 21, 2007

The De Soto Planning Commission will consider Tuesday Engineered Air Inc.'s preliminary site plan for a 100,000 square-foot expansion to its plant.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the De Soto City Hall Council Room.

As a first step toward the expansion, the company won approval in January for the rezoning of 2.5 acres at its plant site on 83rd Street west of Kill Creek. At that time, planning commissioners informed Engineered Air officials and nearby property owners that obtaining preliminary site plan approval would be a much more difficult hurdle.

Neighbors at the rezoning hearing were concerned about the consequences on their properties of noise, traffic and other effects of the manufacturing process.

The expansion will consist of a 100,000-square-foot stand-alone building. Engineered Air President Rick Rambacher told The De Soto Explorer in January the expansion could add 175 production employees to the company's De Soto operation.

At a De Soto City Council meeting earlier this month, Councilman Tim Maniez said he heard numerous concerns from neighbors about the expansion.

Mayor Dave Anderson and Councilwoman Mitra Templin said they had joined city staff in meetings with Engineered Air officials in the past few months to review city expectations for the project. Anderson and Templin said they were impressed with the effort company officials made to address those concerns.

City planning director Kim Buttrum said from the meetings company officials agreed to break up the front façade of the new building and to put windows on its east and west sides. Although the site proved unsuitable for a berm, company officials have provided the city with a landscape plan that will help screen the plant from neighbors.

The Engineered Air expansion is eligible for the 50 percent, 10-year tax abatement the city offers, and company officials have indicated they intend to request the abatement.

Maniez said the treatment of neighbors in the platting process would influence his vote on the abatement.

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