Council met on Monday, Oct. 4, instead of its normal Tuesday meeting time, due to National Night Out scheduled for the following evening.
The zoning request council considered included a proposal to allow additional permitted uses on the 54 acres, generally located at 3403 County Road 317 in McKinney, including a rock, concrete and construction materials recycling center with dirt and topsoil storage. The applicant also proposed a 6-foot raised bank along the southern property line with cedar trees planted, per meeting documents.
During the staff report on the project, it was pointed out that the original letter of intent for the project included a request for heavy industrial zoning. However, after working with staff, the applicant is instead seeking a planned development zoning with the proposed standards to include light industrial. This removes the item of concrete batch plants from being used on the property, which was permitted with heavy industrial, but is not permitted with the requested zoning, staff said.
“This use would not include batch plants at any time?” council member Charlie Philips asked of staff.
“Not without a rezoning,” staff said, adding that rezoning is not something the applicant is intending at this time.
The applicant came with a presentation that stated a portable recycling plant is being proposed on the 54-acre site. This includes a concrete crusher, which will essentially take large pieces of concrete and make them smaller. Particulates from the process will be suppressed by water trucks, and the site will be regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with an air quality permit that includes limitations to the site such as scheduling hours of operation to daytime only, and keeping the facility at least 200 feet away from the property line.
“What we’re trying to address with this facility is to recycle concrete, brick, rock, things that come back from demolition projects or excesses from construction sites that don’t get used,” said Gary Nicholls, an engineer that was brought in to speak on the project. “If you don’t find someplace to put that, it’s going to use up the landfill three times faster.”
McKinney residents filled council chambers in opposition to the project, and nearly 30 signed up to speak.
Residents pointed out that the Advanced Youth Soccer Education System club uses the Fairview Soccer Park that is just south of the proposed construction materials recycling site. The issue of air quality from the proposed project and how it would affect young people playing at the soccer park was a major concern.
Residents also spoke on behalf of the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, which submitted in its newsletter that it was opposed to a heavy industrial use being built in proximity to the nature preserve. The newsletter cited negative effects on the environment and health issues from pollutants.
Traffic concerns were also raised, and Philips asked staff about the traffic impacts this project would have on FM 546. The city’s Director of Engineering Gary Graham said the city would require left and right turn lanes for each driveway from FM 546 going into the site. The city may also require a traffic study once staff sees the size and scale of the project, he said.
Most council members spoke and said that they were in favor of the project. Members of the council had visited a similar concrete recycling facility in Frisco. Council member Geré Feltus said that while she initially had concerns about the project, the facility she visited was “underwhelming.”
“We’re elected to make decisions based on facts, not emotion,” Mayor George Fuller said.
Fuller made the case that the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center was several miles away from the proposed site for the concrete recycling center, farther than the larger concrete batch plants located near Hwy. 5. He also pointed out the benefits of having a concrete recycling facility in the city would include saving the city in transportation costs and materials, as well as avoiding filling the city’s landfills.
Before council could vote to approve the annexation and zoning, Feltus made a motion to table the item until the next council meeting in two weeks.
“I don’t have a big concern about this particular item,” she said. “I want to make sure that we answer questions and made sure that we have every bit of clarity that we can possibly get before we make a final motion.”
She added that this also allows her time to digest some of the information and feedback she heard at the meeting. Other council members agreed and said another two weeks would not hurt the case.
“I kind of feel the same way, I'm in favor of this case,” council member Rick Franklin said. “We've probably done more due diligence on this case than any other case we've had before us. ... It's an important decision and I encourage you, as citizens, there's going to be people reaching out to you, trying to get you this information, trying to have a conversation with you. Please, please, keep involved, talk to these people, get all the facts. And I think at the end of the day, you'll understand where we're coming from.”
The motion to table was unanimous. Council will consider taking action on the item at the Oct. 19 meeting.