The Oklahoma City Planning Commission has approved oil-field equipment maker Kimray Inc.’s plans to build a new corporate headquarters at E Britton Road and N Eastern Avenue over the objections of some residents in the area.
Speaking before the planning commission on Thursday, Kimray CEO Tom Hill said the company had worked to address residents’ concerns.
Homeowners in the semi-rural area said they are worried about traffic from heavy trucks and three shifts of workers coming and going from the Kimray plant, as well as the potential for noise and pollution from the facility. The land, currently undeveloped, is zoned for residential use.
“We have tried to address every issue we can and make it an attractive campus that would improve the area,” Hill said.
Hill showed the planning commission a 3-D, computer-animated video demonstrating what the Kimray headquarters would look like from the road, illustrating a man-made hill that would be landscaped with trees and grasses to block out a view of the parking lot.
Although plans for the new Kimray campus include a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, residents in the area won’t be able to hear noise from the facility, Hill said.
“This is not a heavy-duty manufacturing plant — noise is a nonissue,” he said.
Kimray has about 136 acres owned by American Energy Partners CEO and Chairman Aubrey McClendon under contract for the new headquarters.
The land sale is contingent upon the city’s approval of Kimray’s development plans, Hill said.
Some oppose move
Several area residents wrote letters of protest to the planning commission and attended the meeting to speak out against the Kimray development.
Resident Vanessa Thurman said that when she and her husband purchased land to build a retirement home in the area a few years ago, they did not anticipate that the area would be developed for industrial use.
“We did not plan for 18-wheeler trucks coming in and out of there all the time,” Thurman said.
Janis Powers, Ward 2 planning commissioner, said that while she sympathized with residents, the area, which is within city limits but mostly undeveloped, is bound to eventually be built upon.
“The area where you live is changing — it will not remain rural,” Powers said. “That it has stayed the way it is for so long is really remarkable.”
The planning commission voted unanimously to approve Kimray’s plans for the new campus. The city council has final say on the matter.