Commissioners unanimously voiced support for Smooth On at our last BOC meeting ahead of tonight’s 7pm Zoning Hearing Board meeting. (What is a Zoning Hearing Board)
Here is why I support Smooth On based on smart growth principles:
First, by encouraging a company to move into an existing empty building we help to preserve precious open space and farmland. Infill and true mixed use is the alternative to greenfield development. Churning up our open space is costly both in terms of providing new infrastructure but also by hurting our quality of life.
Smooth on projects to have 1/7th the impact (parking, traffic, deliveries) of Daytimers when they were operating at their peak. As an example, the projections are for 20 trucks total daily limited to Mon-friday. These deliveries will also be limited to certain times and will not occur on weekends. Contrast that to distribution warehouses which generate 20-40 trucks an HOUR 24/7 and 365 days a year. Sounds like a pretty neighborhood friendly deal to me compared to other alternatives. Remember, part of Daytimers facility is a huge warehouse. There was a real fear a distribution outfit would have tried to purchase the property. This would have generated up to 10x the truck traffic.
Secondly, Smooth On will bring over 150 good paying jobs. They’ve already stated they would like to hire former Daytimers employees who lost their jobs when the company relocated. This is contrary to distribution warehouses which typically hire alot of seasonal and part time employees at much lower wages.
Lastly, Smooth On has expressed an interest in being a partner in future smart growth visioning projects including taking a look at East Texas. This is wonderful, because without an anchor who buys into community vision it’s hard to move forward with ambitious planning projects. Smooth On encourages a culture where employees live, work and play in the surrounding neighborhood. The folks who work there likely will live here, spend money here and send there kids to school here. This was similar to Daytimers where a large percentage of folks who worked at the facility lived here in Lower Mac.
Yes, with any large manufacturing facility there are concerns. This is no different. But as someone who always looks at new development with a critical eye, personally after 2 meetings with company officials I feel confident issues will be addressed. I have seen residents asking the right questions. That’s important! And great to them engaged. I hope to see many at tonight’s meeting. I am confident our staff, fire and emergency professionals and of course smooth on will be able to address any concerns residents have.
I grew up next to daytimers and today I live in a home in the same neighborhood 2 houses down. So not only do I look at this from the standpoint of a Commissioner, but also as a direct neighbor. Daytimers even at it’s peak was always a fantastic neighbor. It’s important we get another good neighbor in this building. Smooth on will have the same restrictions and 1/7th the impact in most measurable ways. To be honest it kept me up at night worrying the “wrong fit” may have expressed interest in the building. There are still questions to be answered tonight, but overall it’s fantastic that we have what looks to be the right fit.