Randall County residents upset about new brush chipping location
January 28, 2014 at 3:35 AM CST - Updated July 2 at 9:25 AM
AMARILLO, TX - The city of Amarillo is moving one of it's three brush and tree chipping sites to a new location because new housing developments are popping up close by.
"That area on Soncy is being developed now. Residential, multi-family homes... and there was really a need to go ahead and find a new home for that facility," Amarillo City Commissioner Brian Eades said.
But the new location is right across the street from a Randall County neighborhood and those residents aren't happy.
Right now city crews are working on getting the new site ready. They're leasing it from a private land owner just outside the city limits and though that's all legal, residents say it's not fair.
"I think the city should have looked at how close this location was to this housing development prior to doing this," homeowner Todd Wesley said.
Wesley's family moved to their home near Hollywood Road and Helium Road nine years ago because it was close to town, but still peaceful.
Now he fears that will change.
"The debris blowing out of the chipping site, and the shredded trash I'm worried about blowing on my property," he said. "Also, the possible traffic increase."
With over 100 signatures on a petition, Wesley's sure most of his neighbors agree with his concerns.
Wesley says the brush sites a eye sores and will likely decrease property values.
Since the site is outside city limits, there are no zoning laws prohibiting it.
"There could have been a trailer park, a cement plant, a convenient store," Eades said. "When you live in a location with no zoning laws, you never know what could pop up next to you."
But Wesley says the lack of zoning laws isn't what upsets him and his neighbors.
"Land owners have the right to do what they want to do with their property, lease to who they want to, and I completely agree with that," he said. "I have no problems with the land owner doing that. I think the city should look at where the site is going prior to construction. I don't know that they did that, I can't say for sure."
The city says they will not reconsider the location right now because a five-year lease is already signed, and construction on the project has already started.
But they are looking into expanding the city limits to that area, which would create zoning laws there in the future.
"It's kind of a double-edged sword because the city could control what could goes up around there, but it would also put limits on what residents could do on their own property," Eades said.
The possibility of incorporating the area into Amarillo is a few years away, but Eades say the city is already talking about it.