City Council To Consider Requests To Establish 2 Reinvestment Zones, 6 Zoning Changes

Gift, 2 Economic Development Projects, Real Property Matters, Contract Amendment For 2022 SIP Also On July 5 Agenda

Sulphur Springs City Council has a lengthy July 5, 2022 agenda, which includes requests to establish two reinvestment zones for new businesses and six zoning changes — including one reinvestment zone request and five rezoning requests to be presented for second and, if approved, final reading; and one new request each to rezone property for a new business and to establish a reinvestment zone for another expansion of a local business. All together, that’s 12 ordinances that will either be created or impacted by decisions made at the regular July meeting tonight.

Executive Session

The City Council will meet at 6:15 p.m. and immediately go into executive session to consult with an attorney, discuss the value or transfer or real property, a prospective gift or donation to the City of Sulphur Springs, and deliberate regarding two economic development projects identified only as Superman and Elephant.

The elected officials are then scheduled to reconvene in regular open session beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building.

Sulphur Springs Municipal Building (City Hall) Connally Street entrance, the side on which the conference center, where executive sessions are typically held, is located.

Rezoning Requests

Libba Land LTD is asking the City of Sulphur Springs to rezone about 12 acres of a 24.73-acre parcel located at the Northeast corner of Interstate 30 and State Highway 19, from heavy commercial to light industrial, so a CEFCO truck stop can be constructed there.

The request is being presented on second, and if approved, final approval of the City Council. The request was recommended to the City Council by the Planning & Zoning Board as meeting all requirements and stipulations set forth for such matters. Two members of the City Council voted against the measure at the June 2022 City Council meeting on first reading, but the measure passed on a 5-2 vote with Place 5 Councilman John Sellers and Place 2 Councilman Harold Nash casting the dissenting votes.

One resident of the neighboring area spoke against putting a truck stop on the north side of I-30 near Coleman Park. Among the concerns he cited were potential: traffic issues, hazard to children and residents in the nearby park,, damage to the road, and affect on nearby property values.

A representative for Libba Land LTD discusses a proposed CEFCO truck stop to be placed on Industrial Drive at Hillcrest Drive during the June 2022 City Council meeting

Jason and Jennifer Lacomfora are asking that property located at 1120 Church Street, a 1.54-acre tract be rezoned from multifamily to heavy commercial. This is being presented for second, and if approved, final approval Tuesday night.

Hopkins County Holdings LLC requested that 302 and 306 Magnolia Street be rezoned from light industrial to multifamily and that 530 Davis Street be rezoned from light industrial to multifamily. This is being presented Tuesday for second and what would be final approval, the City Council greenlights the zoning change.

Hopkins County Hospital District has asked that property at 525 Church Street be rezoned from multifamily to professional office and 530 Davis Street be rezoned from single family-10 to professional office. The both requests were approved on first reading in June; this would be second and final approval if the City Council agrees to the request. This will clean up some zoning to fit the use for the structures, and so the property can be sold.

Being presented for the first time as Ordinance No. 2807 is a request from Andrea and Malachi Sandoval to rezone property at 1659 Arbala Road from single family to light commercial.

Just under 1 acre of the 11 acre tract, the portion at the northwest corner of Arbala Road and Wildcat Way, would be used for a new coffee shop, the Planning & Zoning Commission members were told at the group’s June 20 meeting. City staff recommended the request be approved, provided the applicants subdivide the the lots in accordance with the rezoning request.

The City’s land use plan along that area identifies the area as commercial, so the request would be in keeping with intended use. A vacant property to the north of the property in question is zoned heavy commercial. Single family property to the east is also designated as heavy commercially zoned. Vacant property to the south is zoned light commercial. Vacant property to the west is zoned single family or SF-6. round the property for which the rezoning request is made, Sulphur Springs Assistant City Manger/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski told the P&Z Commission on June 20.

The Planning and Zoning Commission members determined the request met city requirements, provided the property is subdivided as indicated, forwarding the request to the City Council for consideration on July 5.

Reinvestment Zones

The City Council is scheduled to hear for the second time, and final if approved, the request to establish a reinvestment zone for Ashoka Steel Mills.

On April 11, Sulphur Springs ISD Board of Trustees accepted a Chapter 313 application from Ashoka Steel Mills, LLC, seeking a tax incentive for a $265 million investment which is projected to create 300 jobs and be located on 250 acres of the city’s 4,8570 acre property which previously housed a coal mine, with a 150-acre expansion planned later, Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Director Roger Feagley said when asked by a school official at the April 11 meeting.

Sulphur Springs City Hall
Sulphur Springs Municipal Building (City Hall)

Sulphur Springs is one of two cities being considered for the plant, and could be among the company’s first manufacturing facilities in the US. The other site being considered is Tulsa, Oklahoma. Approval of the reinvestment zone and tax incentives sooner rather than later could give Sulphur Springs the edge to lure the company to Sulphur Springs instead of Oklahoma, according to Feagley.

Ashoka representatives noted the project is contingent on the business receiving tax or other economic incentives from local taxing entities, including the school district and city. The applications submitted to SSISD has been forwarded to Texas Comptroller’s Office to determine whether it meets stipulations required for a 313 agreement. SSISD will be notified of the finding. If it is approved, the school board then would consider approving the application.

A reinvestment zone is required for a business to apply to certain taxing entities for tax incentives. For instance, Ashoka Steel Mills wouldn’t be able to apply for a tax abatement from the hospital district without a reinvestment zone being established

Being resented to Sulphur Springs City Council for the first time Tuesday night for consideration is Ordinance No. 2806, which would establish yet another reinvestment zone for D6, Inc. The company began operations in Sulphur Springs 1 1/2 years ago, receiving tax incentives to open a plant in the old Coca-Cola Building just off Industrial Drive. In October of 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that D6 Inc would be moving its headquarters form Portland, Oregon to the more centrally located Sulphur Springs, Texas. Tax incentives were sought for an expansion of the current facility, which would max out available space. Now, the business is gearing up to construct a large building near the current site on EDC property, into which all operations would be moved.

Overall, the business is expected to expand the current operation by 300,000-square feet, with a 180,000-square-foot building to be constructed as soon as the business can get everything in line and another 120,000-square-foot building expansion in three years. Once complete, the D6 Inc. representatives are planning to relocate everything into the new building, then sell the Coca-Cola plant. The business started out promising 25 jobs and, thus far, has hired 71. That number would increase to more than 250 employees at full capacity for the future 300,000-square foot facility.

Other Agenda Items

The July 5 City Council agenda also includes:

Sulphur Springs Municipal Building (City Hall)
  • Discussion/Action on contract amendment for SIP 2022.
  • Visitors and Public Forum
  • Discussion/Action on public hearing for second and final reading of Ordinance No. 2798 – An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Sulphur Springs, Texas, amending Ordinance No. 2783, the 2021-2022 Annual Budget Ordinance.
  • Discussion/Action on public hearing for second and final reading of Ordinance No. 2799 – An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Sulphur Springs, Texas, amending Ordinance No. 2790, the master fee schedule for costs, fees and rates associated with permitting, utility services and other services provided by the City.
  • Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag, Texas Flag, and invocation.
  • Presentations, proclamations, and announcement.
  • Manager’s report will include a status report of capital improvements, municipal operations, accidents and claims for the month, and a review of expenditures and revenues.

Author: KSST Contributor

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