Midlothian council rejects requests for rezoning

Midlothian, TX - City council members rejected two rezoning applications at Tuesday’s regular meeting. 

The first application was for a single family housing development near Longbranch Elementary School and the other was for a modified heavy industrial zoning for the Texas Central Business

(TCB) Line Corporation Transload Center located south of U.S. Highway 67 and west of Midlothian Parkway.

TCB’s application was denied by a unanimous vote after council members indicated they were concerned with uses the permit would force future Midlothian residents to deal with. The application did not fit with the city’s plans for future growth and development, council member Ted Miller said.

“Most Midlothian city councils have tried to approve industrial zoning away from populations,” said council member Jimmie McClure. “Our city and residents have bought into the idea that 67 is a gateway to our community, and across the highway we are supporting the Farmstead and a wedding venue, so this doesn’t make sense to me.”

The center is bordered by the Holcim cement plant and quarry, the BNSF Railway, U.S. Highway 67, the Auto Park and the Union Pacific Railroad. Because of the location of the rail yard inside the center, the city will not be able to change or regulate all business that occurs in the center at any time in the foreseeable future, Lasher told the council members.

“It is industrial and will most likely always be,” he said.

The TCB Transload Center is part of the MidTexas International Center and, though the city cannot govern business specifically related to the railroad because of interstate commerce laws, the user must apply for a city permit if they are conducting business that is not unique nor essential to the rail yard function, city planning director Kevin Lasher told council members. In 2014, TCB applied for and received such a Specific Use Permit (SUP) for U.S. Polyco at Transload Center. Visibility of the Polyco building from U.S. Highway 67 was a concern during the approval process for that application.

The center is currently zoned for light industrial and TCB had applied for a special use permit to be able to have a heavy industrial zoning with certain uses prohibited. TCB officials have indicated they have had several businesses contact them wanting outdoor storage for gravel and dirt to be used in construction projects like the 360 Tollroad project, Lasher said. Bulk outdoor storage is not permitted under standard light industrial zoning, he said.

Activities that would have been prohibited in the SUP included indoor and outdoor archery or firearm shooting ranges, sexually-oriented business, motor vehicle salvage yards, petroleum refinery, sanitary landfill, smelter or refinery, steel mill, brick kiln except for tile manufacturing, fabrication and production, chemical manufacturing and processing, furnace blast including forge plant, boiler works manufacturer, metal foundry plant except metal fabrication and metal smelting, reclamation, or ore reduction.

Source: Midlothian Mirror

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