Home News Local News P&Z Commission approves Ergon rezoning

P&Z Commission approves Ergon rezoning

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An Ergon Asphalt corporate officer has said the expansion work is expected to begin in early 2021. (Daily Record File Photo)

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A rezoning request that a potential purchaser of Roswell Air Center land said was crucial to the deal was approved unanimously by the city of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night.

Unless the decision is appealed by this Thursday, the rezoning will bring the $340,000 sale of three adjacent lots on East Martin Street closer to reality.

The request to rezone the western vacant lot from Residential 3 to Industrial 2 was made by the city of Roswell, which is the current owner of the parcel, as well as the two tracts directly to the east that Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions Inc. has leased from the city since 2016.

The two eastern parcels are already zoned industrial and are the current site of Ergon’s asphalt manufacturing operations. The company uses the street address of 49 E. Martin St.

The three parcels together are about 13.4 acres.

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City Manager Joe Neeb told the Planning and Zoning group that the rezoning to industrial is necessary to the company’s expansion plans, but that Ergon had agreed to plant trees to provide a buffer between the industrial operations and the nearby residential area and park.

“When we did the sale of the property, we made sure to include $60,000 for the trees for the buffering,” Neeb said. “If you will recognize, right now the current property is not buffered, so this is an improvement, which we appreciate as well, too,” said Neeb.

In making its decision, Planning and Zoning Commission members made it a part of their motion that the landscaped buffer is a requirement for the rezoning.

Adan Lopez, a resident of East Wells Street, spoke in opposition to the rezoning request.

According to his translator, Lopez said that, under certain weather conditions, the odors and vapors from the asphalt operations are strong. He worried that the company’s expansion closer to single-family homes could heighten those problems.

City Engineer Louis Najar said that Ergon has submitted site plans showing that it intends to use the western rezoned parcel to build an additional rail spur for the storage of rail cars, so it appeared that most of its heavy industrial activity would be confined to the two parcels the company already uses.

Najar also told Lopez that he would talk to Ergon about the concerns and added that the company has to meet the standards of the New Mexico Environment Department. Najar said that complaints could be filed with city and state officials if there were concerns about the noise or odors being at “nuisance” or “hazardous” levels.

Lopez’s daughter also asked for clarifications about the landscaping requirement.

After months of discussion and some opposition voiced by local business leaders who thought a long-term lease was more appropriate, the Roswell City Council voted 6-4 on Nov. 12 to approve the sale with Ergon.

Because it is publicly owned land, the sale agreement still must go through due diligence and state review processes before it will be considered final.

Ergon plans to begin an expansion in 2021 to include the addition of a $2 million storage tank. In addition to the $340,000 purchase price, it has agreed to pay $60,000 for the landscaping, $20,000 a year for maintenance costs for the city-owned rail spur and about $293,350 to build a new road to provide access from the area to East Earl Cummings Loop, so that it can demolish the portion of Airport Road that crosses the rail spurs on the property.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.