Enid-Garfield County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission has approved the rezoning of property to be used as a logistics center for wind turbine equipment.  The request for the property, located on the northeast corner of 66th and Chestnut, involves rezoning it from Agriculture District to I-3 Industrial (Heavy) District. During the MAPC’s meeting Monday, city of Enid Planning Administrator Chris Bauer said Transportation Partners and Logistics LLC selected the site because of the railroad.  “It’s their intent to build a spur off of that railroad line,” he said.

Enid Regional Development Alliance Executive Director Brent Kisling said the company’s business is to offload product from rail, put it onto trucks and move it into the area of a particular contract it is working on. “This area deals with wind energy, at this point. It could expand beyond that into some other products,” he said. “This is a very unique site for what we would have in northwest Oklahoma, and also this entire region. It’s very exciting that they have chosen Enid for their investment.” MAPC member Eddie Mack asked how long the company would be in Enid.

“I’m hoping that they’ll be around for decades and decades to come, is my hope. At this point, they’re operating under a temporary permit for the next, I think, 60 days, but I would hope that they would be here for decades to come,” Kisling said. A canola plant had been proposed to the north of the property, he said.  “I like to say as a community it’s important to fail forward. We had gone through all of the mental gymnastics to prepare for a $200 million canola plant just a couple hundred yards from where they’re locating. We had already begun negotiations with BNSF, they already knew that they had capacity on that line to put a couple of switches in and offload product, and the fact we’ve already been through the rezoning process in this region, I think, has certainly been helpful,” Kisling said. Two nearby property owners spoke about concerns. Stacey Robison, who owns property just to the south of the site, said her main concern is drainage. “I’m afraid that it’s going to cause washing,” she said. “They’ve already put up one light there that kind of shines, I mean it’s a bright light, and I’m sure there’s more to come.” Traffic is getting backed up, and the intersection is getting torn up already, Robison said. Jerry Schmidt owns property to the east of the site.

“My primary reason for being here is that I don’t know if this facility is going to do anything to enhance the value of my property. To the contrary, I think it will probably devalue my property,” he said.  MAPC member Jim Strate Jr. said he would like the concerns about drainage and lighting to be addressed. As part of the temporary permit, Transportation Partners and Logistics LLC has to put in drainage control measures, City Engineer Robert Hitt said. To go to a permanent permit, the company would have to mitigate the impact from discharge from the site.

Some bright lights had been taken out, and a power pole with just one streetlight was installed Monday, Billy Brenton, one owner of Transportation Partners and Logistics LLC, told the MAPC. When asked about the taxable economic benefit of the company, Kisling said there are 15 employees at the site currently. “The big thing for us as a community, more than anything else, is having this infrastructure in place in our community,” he said. “There’s nothing else like this in our entire region, and the companies that follow something like this could be very beneficial for us. “So, even though we are so glad that they’re making this investment in our community, we think it could grow into other things that would be attracted to that infrastructure.” Kisling said ERDA is continuing to work with Transportation Partners and Logistics LLC, and the state of Oklahoma, on options for 66th. “It’s not a nice road,” he said. “This will give us a really good reason, I think, to focus on that road.”

Story provided by: Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  Jessica Miller