American Energy Partners Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon has asked the Oklahoma City Planning Commission to approve oil-field equipment maker Kimray Inc.’s plans for a new campus on land McClendon owns at E Britton Road and N Eastern Avenue.
Many residents who live in the semi-rural area in northeast Oklahoma City say they are opposed to Kimray’s plans for a new corporate campus that will include a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant because of concerns about traffic and noise.
In a letter written on American Energy Partners letterhead to the Oklahoma City Planning Commission, McClendon said the new corporate campus would benefit Oklahoma City’s economy. McClendon, who owns several thousand acres of undeveloped land in Oklahoma County, has about 136 acres under contract to Kimray for the new headquarters.
“Kimray has been a driving force in the Oklahoma City economy and community for over 65 years,” McClendon wrote in his letter. “... If their application is approved, Kimray will expand their own employment base and will enhance this area for the benefit of all citizens and the City of Oklahoma City as a whole.”
The Oklahoma City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on whether to approve Kimray’s plans for a new campus Thursday.
Northeast Oklahoma City resident Kristin King, who has lived in the neighborhood next to where Kimray wants to build its new campus for the past 23 years, said she is concerned about constant noise from three shifts of Kimray employees who will work at the facility.
The area is a quiet residential area that King says she fears will be forever changed if Kimray builds a new 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and a three-story, 90,000-square-foot office building in the area.
“Why would they want to build something industrial right across the street from residential,” King said. “Why would they want to build a 24-hour operation across from people’s homes?”
More than a dozen residents, including King, have sent letters of protest to the Planning Commission against Kimray’s development plans, and many also have signed a petition opposed to the new corporate campus.
The company has said it has met with residents to talk about their concerns. Kimray said it also has conducted an independent traffic study that found that there would be no significant impact on traffic in the area. The company plans to develop six acres of landscaped greenbelt as part of its campus plans. Kimray claims residents should not be able to hear noise from the manufacturing plant.
Oklahoma City resident Wes Chambers owns about two and a half acres zoned for commercial use across the street from where Kimray plans to build its new campus and has written a letter to the city in support of Kimray’s plans.
Chambers believes Kimray’s development will improve the value of his land.
“Everyone that mentions Kimray says what a wonderful company they are and how much of a contribution they have made to the welfare of Oklahoma City,” Chambers said. “I think they are a good company.”