If all goes according to plan, come the middle of next year around May or June, ground will be broken for the construction of a new automotive dealership in Weatherford. Gunn Honda met with members of the City of Weatherford’s planning and zoning commission - (P&Z) on Wednesday and received the green light on a conceptual plan for the new dealership which will be located on west I-20, west of Weatherford High School.
The Weatherford City Council still needed to give final approval for the project and is scheduled to discuss it at its meeting Tuesday.
A public hearing took place during the P & Z meeting to consider a request for a change to C2-Commercial Interstate District with Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Motor Vehicle Sales and Rentals for the 10.374 acre tract.
“We’re excited to come to Weatherford and we’re going to build a first class facility,” said Charlie O’Daniel of the San Antonio based automotive group.
Shannon Nave with Baird, Hampton and Brown, engineers for the project, said that prior to meeting, representatives with his firm conducted a meeting at the high school to hear concerns from neighbors and landowners.
“About 15 people showed up and we answered questions for a little more than an hour and we received very positive input,” Nave said.
The commission asked several questions regarding storm water run-off, landscaping and buffering zones on the proposed new facility before giving their approval.
Dennis Clayton, Director of the Weatherford Economic Development program, said the city is “very excited” about the new 30,000 square foot facility.
“This new development, on our I-20 corridor, will enhance our western growth and expand our regional retail attraction with the unique business brand,” Clayton said. “The project will be an approximately $10 million new construction project and will employ 60-80 initially in management/services/sales and skilled mechanics.
“This project investment will add new value to the TIRZ, increase sales tax to the city and add new skilled jobs in our growing economy.”
He said the dealership, and the future 8,000 square foot collision center, is another early influence of the TIRZ for new business development.
Gunn Automotive is part of the TIRZ project made by Weatherford City Council to address undeveloped areas in the city that can provide benefits in the future, such as job growth and better quality of life for residents. The City of Weatherford and Parker County Hospital District (PCHD) have agreed to partner for the TIRZ. By law, Weatherford Independent School District (WISD) cannot participate with a TIRZ, but did pass a resolution of support.
As part of the TIRZ, the City will be partnering with the developer on Kaitlyn Drive to accommodate access to the frontage road from both Westover End and the property.
“We are very proud and excited for the addition of new retail within the City of Weatherford,” said city manager Sharon Hayes. “Weatherford is a growing community and the city is taking responsible steps to manage and protect our growth corridor.”
TIRZs are increasingly popular among municipalities in the state of Texas by allowing a proactive approach toward attracting businesses. A TIRZ essentially jump-starts development in an area of Weatherford that may not otherwise develop and adds additional tax revenue back into the TIRZ when property tax values increase. Other tax revenue is also generated from new development within the TIRZ, such as sales tax. Sales tax revenue does not go into the TIRZ, but still benefits the community.