For generations families have farmed the fields in the far southeast corner of Mansfield where rows of corn stretch as far as the eye can see.
Other than the occasional natural gas drilling site and the recent construction of the Texas 360 toll road, not much has changed east of the highway and south of the railroad tracks compared to the rest of the booming suburb.
The e-commerce revolution could change all that as a developer proposes to build seven warehouse buildings totaling 2.8 million square feet on 241 acres in the next four to five years.
The proposal shows the largest of the buildings, 1.1 million square feet, would abut Texas 360 and the railroad tracks, just south of Big League Dreams and Hawaiian Falls.
Logistics Property Company (LPC) is seeking a planned development zoning change to build the Park 360 South project despite objections from neighbors who live around it.
“The growth in the e-commerce distribution space has filled up much of the existing inventory in the area, thus pushing development to places like Mansfield,” Kent Newsom, executive vice president for Logistics Property Company’s South Region, told the Mansfield City Council at first reading. “The expansion of the 360 toll road opens up all kinds of new activity for Mansfield.”
The council voted 6-1 in favor of the zoning change in their initial vote on Oct. 22 with Councilman Terry Moore voting no. Other council members expressed reservations about the project and wanted more information before the second and third votes on Nov. 12 and Nov. 26.
Moore had a number of concerns, including what kind of incentives the developer will seek from the city.
“You’re asking me to make a decision on a project without knowing what the ask is. I want to know what the ask is at the next meeting,” Moore said.
He asked why the project couldn’t be located in one of Mansfield’s industrial parks. He’s also concerned that the intersections in the area would be “disastrous” with this much truck traffic.
Residents from Mansfield National showed up in force to oppose the project, saying the endless truck traffic, towering walls and sea of concrete don’t belong in that corner of town.
Dan Massey’s home on Britton Road will be surrounded on all sides by the development on all sides.
“He opposes this requested zoning change,” said Toby Goodman, who spoke on Massey’s behalf. “If approved, it will substantially diminish the value of his property. It may completely destroy the value of his property.”
Like other neighbors, the 2.25 trucks per minute coming is a great concern for Massey.
“There’s nothing that’s been said during the meetings that these things don’t run 24 hours a day,” Goodman said. “They’re going to stay off the toll road. They’re going to use the frontage roads. They’re going to back up those intersections. We finally get a toll road there but then we jam it up with trucks.”
There are also concerns about noise and air quality with hundreds of trucks coming and going, he said.
Several of the landowners who are selling to LPC spoke in favor of the project, saying they have put blood, sweat and tears into this land over the decades.
“With my family’s history, the decision to sell to LPC wasn’t an easy one,” said Mansfield resident Kelly Priest. “We have earned the right to do with the property as we choose.”
They say the land isn’t suitable for agriculture anymore with all the traffic on the new toll road.
Brian Avirett spoke on behalf of South Pointe, the mixed-use project with new houses being built just across Texas 360 from the proposed Park 360 South site.
“These truck drivers will take the path of least resistance. To get to 287, they’re going to take Lone Star through South Pointe,” Avirett said. “The proponents of this development stand to have quite a bit of financial gain. Meanwhile, the surrounding property owners values will plummet.”
Other residents said the 1,500 to 2,000 jobs created by these warehouses will be low paying jobs where the workers won’t be able to afford to live in Mansfield.
Larry Davis said he supports the project because it brings a stable user to the site that will bring new property tax revenue to the city.
“It will give a chance for Mansfield to add a quality diversification to the tax base, which in the end hopefully means tax relief for homeowners,” Davis said.
Councilman Mike Leyman said said he supports this project because it adds to Mansfield’s tax base without adding more residents.
“The endeavor in my mind is to try to bring down the property taxes,” Leyman said. “It could be a long time before somebody else brings a project in here and your taxes are going to go up.”
His biggest concern is that big rigs be parked on site only and trucks parked on city streets be towed.
Newsom said they have 1,100 parking spots for big rigs.
Councilman Larry Broseh said he supports the project for the property taxes it will bring but has concerns about the effect on Massey’s property.
At the least, he’d like to see the proposed warehouse that would loom over Massey’s property moved farther away.
Newsom said they attempted to buy Massey’s property but he made an “extreme offer” that LPC didn’t pursue.
“We are open to sitting down and talking with Mr. Massey,” he said.
Councilman Casey Lewis said he doesn’t support the project overall but wants to give the developer a chance to work on the concerns that were raised.
“This changes the character of the southern entry of town. It just does. That’s the new welcome to Mansfield,” Lewis said.
“The buildings look really nice. Is this the best use for this land? And if it’s not, what are we saying no for. I don’t think that residential is going to be an option.”