“We have reviewed the zoning ordinances with city staff and agree that, when coupled with LEDCO’s restrictive covenants, Heavy Commercial zoning will allow LEDCO to attract the type of high quality investment our citizens want for our community,” said Metzler. “Our goal has always been to attract high quality businesses to Longview that will create good jobs and increase the tax base for our community. Our plans for the new business park fit well within Heavy Commercial zoning restrictions.”
According to Mayor Jay Dean, “Heavy Commercial is a less intensive zoning use than Light Industrial. As such, we hope that any concern about the types of businesses that will locate in the North Business Park will be addressed. I agree with Mr. Metzler that LEDCO will be able to successfully develop the new business park with Heavy Commercial zoning.”
Previously LEDCO had requested Light Industrial zoning for the new park but Mr. Metzler said “we based our request for zoning solely on the fact that the existing business park on south Eastman Rd was zoned Light Industrial. We purchased the property for the new North Business Park with plans to attract businesses that would complement the surrounding area. We considered its proximity to existing residential areas, the Judson school campus, and future plans for widening FM 1844 and the extension of George Richey Rd. We conducted traffic studies and sought the advice of consultants.”
As background, LEDCO purchased the 700 acre Mackey property in 2007 and attached deed restrictions which were filed with the county. These deed restrictions were the same covenants used on the existing Longview Business Park, but modified to apply to the new North Business Park. The covenants restrict the types of businesses that can locate in the park and addresses issues pertaining to building setbacks, landscape requirements and construction standards. In many cases, the covenants are more restrictive than Heavy Commercial zoning. At the time of purchase, the Mackey property was not in the city limits. LEDCO worked with the city’s engineering staff during plan development to ensure that new roads and infrastructure would meet the required codes and then requested that the city annex the property. During annexation hearings, it was noted that the zoning request would be Light Industrial.
“LEDCO is a community organization using tax-payer dollars to do economic development,” said Metzler. “Our board of directors is appointed by the mayor and city council. We operate in a transparent, open manner and our goal is to do what is in the best interest of Longview. We need this business park in order to attract good job opportunities to Longview and to do so in a manner that will increase property values. It has never been our intention to locate heavy industry in this park. Our plans were to build a business park not an industrial park.”