Some northeast Oklahoma City residents are concerned with oil-field equipment maker Kimray Inc.’s plans to build a new headquarters and manufacturing plant in their neighborhood.
Kimray has about 136 acres of land under contract on the northwest corner of E Britton Road and N Eastern Avenue to build a new headquarters and a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and a three-story, 90,000-square-foot office building. The land, currently zoned for residential development, has been owned by American Energy Partners LP founder Aubrey McClendon since 2005.
Kimray will ask the Oklahoma City Planning Commission on Thursday to approve changing the zoning on the land for industrial use. Six residents who live in the semi-rural surrounding area have filed letters of protest against Kimray’s plans to build in the area.
“This is a nice, quiet neighborhood and it doesn’t make sense to build a commercial factory out here that is running six days a week, 24 hours a day with lights and trucks and everything,” said Barney Kaminsky, past president of the Bartlett Neighborhood Association.
The land at E Britton Road and N Eastern Avenue is ideally suited for Kimray’s new home because it already has infrastructure in place such as electrical, sewer and water lines, as well as easy access to major roads, said Bob Cole, Kimray executive vice president and chief financial officer. The site also is near Kimray’s current home at NW 42 and Santa Fe Avenue, providing for minimal interruptions for Kimray’s roughly 850 Oklahoma City employees, he said.
Traffic study done
The company has commissioned an independent traffic study that has found there would be no significant impact to traffic in the area, Cole said. Kimray has been growing at a pace of 10 to 12 percent a year and has outgrown its current space.
“We don’t have a plan B right now,” Cole said. “There aren’t any suitable alternatives in the city that are zoned for industrial right now. ... We don’t want to leave Oklahoma City, we like it here.”
Plans for Kimray’s campus include six acres of landscaped greenbelt, and residents shouldn’t be able to hear any noise from the plant, Cole said.
Resident Rhonda Keison, who owns land across the street from the proposed Kimray campus and has lived in the area for several years, said in a letter to the Planning Commission that she is concerned about added traffic from three shifts of Kimray workers as well as heavy trucks coming and going from the manufacturing plant.
Keison said Monday she did not want to speak publicly about the issue, but plans to attend the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday.
“It is one thing to purchase a home knowing you are surrounded by industrial-zoned property,” Keison wrote in her letter. “It’s quite another to have your neighborhood turned into an industrial area just because the land was vacant.”