Fort Worth council favors expansion of Meacham foreign trade zone

01/07/2014 7:57 PM

01/07/2014 7:59 PM

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to support the expansion of a foreign trade zone for the Mercantile Business Park near Meacham Airport.

The expansion of the zone, which is an area not subject to customs duties or property taxes, could encourage more businesses to open in the area, boost economic development and add jobs, said Jay Chapa, the city’s director of housing and economic development.

The expansion would cover the entire 630 acres of the business park. The expansion request now goes to the Foreign Trade Zones Board, part of the Commerce Department, which has final approval.

“Together with the land owner, Mercantile Partners, LP, and the local real estate community, we are aggressively promoting international trade and investment in Fort Worth. The expansion of the zone will provide important development options for new prospects as well as current tenants,” City Manager Tom Higgins wrote in a letter of support.

In other business, the council voted down a request for a zoning change without prejudice for Willow Springs Golf Course. Much of the course in the Haslet area was zoned for 5,000-square-foot residential lots when the city annexed it starting in 2002. The owner, Dacus Lindsey, is trying to sell the course to a developer who plans to build high-density housing. Lindsey was applying to rezone a portion of the golf course from planned development to 5,000-square-foot residential lots.

Many homeowners around the golf course, however, live on half-acre and larger lots and say the development would hurt home values. The developer, Don Plunk of Doral Properties of Dallas, told the council that his company will rework its plans to take residents’ concerns into consideration.

“This has been a sticky wicket, but I think we are on the road to a reasonable resolution to this,” said Councilman Dennis Shingleton, whose district includes the area.

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