December 15, 2005

Council Gives Okay For All-States To Continue Expansion

Concerns about a proposed business expansion on the north edge of Memphis were quickly cleared up just days after the December Memphis City Council meeting where a member of the city’s planning and zoning board had raised questions about the zoning of the site.

The expansion at All-States Equipment’s manufacturing site on the city’s economic development grounds had been scheduled for discussion on the agenda at the December 2nd regular meeting of the council. But the issue was tabled after Jay Brush voiced concerns about the paint emissions from the plant and also disputed the need for a building permit at the site.

A special meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 8th at city hall to allow a representative from the business to be present to discuss the issues. Mark Drummond from All-States Equipment attended the meeting and offered a brief presentation on the on-going expansion at the site.

Drummond stated the company is planning to build a 60x240 metal building similar to the existing structure at the site. The plans also call for an additional 60x80 structure on the back of the building to be used to store tubing and other materials.

“We have added a night crew and are hoping to add 10 to 15 more jobs once this new building is complete,” Drummond told the council. He cited growing demand for the company’s fabricated metal products as the main reason for the expansion.

He indicated that the company had proceeded with pouring the cement loading dock for the building and had begun preliminary ground work under the belief that the current contract with the city eliminated the need for a building permit at the site.

City Attorney David Peppard reiterated his legal opinion that he had stated at the regular council meeting, that All-States did not need a building permit, because the property is owned by the city and the city is not required to apply for building permits for its own construction projects. However, Peppard indicated that the agreement, which is a 10-year lease/purchase contract entered into back in 2001, did specifically require the lessee to seek and receive written approval from the council for any improvements on the ground.

The council members indicated they were ready to pass a resolution giving All-States approval for the project.

Alderman William Reckenberg called the situation a simple misunderstanding, a sentiment echoed by Alderman Ron Gardner who stated there simply needs to be better communication between the company’s leadership and the city officials.

“We all want to see you expand,” Reckenberg told Drummond. “That was never the issue we just need to make sure we, go through the right channels.”

Alderman Lucas Remley explained to Drummond that the council has experienced a number of recent issues with building permits and that the city and the planning and zoning board are trying to make the process evenhanded for all involved.

“Things had been done a certain way for so long, and now we are finding out they need to be done differently,” Remley said in regards to planning and zoning. “We are just trying to get everyone on the same page, so that every citizen has to do the same thing in order to get a building permit. That way we make sure it is fair for everyone.”

The council voted 4-0 to approve a resolution giving All-States written approval to proceed with the expansion at the site.

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