Pittsfield Planners Recommend Denying Plan for Wacker Chemical Plant on Textile Road

Local News Needs Your Support

Donation Options

 05/04/2019 - 00:47

Following months of back-and-forth between the township and the company, a rezoning application submitted by Wacker Chemical will soon head to the Pittsfield Board of Trustees with a recommendation from the planning commission: do not approve this request.

The planning commission made their decision during Thursday’s meeting, with commissioners unanimously agreeing that Wacker Chemical’s application failed to meet the township’s 11 standards for planned unit developments (PUDs). A majority of commissioners voted to recommend that Pittsfield trustees deny the request, with commissioners Mike Petraszko and Roland Kibler voting against the denial recommendation.

The proposed rezoning request by Wacker Chemical includes plans to develop an 18-acre site alongside Textile Road, east of State Road. The proposed site would include a work space for 300 employees, with the building split between two fields: 70 percent would be operated for administrative work and 30 percent for research and development.

Wacker Chemical first submitted their request last November. In January, the planning commission voted to postpone any actions regarding the request, citing concerns about the proposed development’s height of 59 feet and its proximity across from the park at Marsh View Meadows. A new application was submitted to the board in April, with changes made to the building’s orientation (rotating the building 180 degrees) and with an environmental impact report.

Before Thursday’s vote, commissioner chairman Matthew Payne told commissioners he reviewed all 11 standards for planned unit developments in Pittsfield and concluded that the proposed site’s height was over the limit set by the standards. Petraszko questioned the standards set by the township, saying the commission should be more flexible.

“I don’t know what the discussions were back when the PUD was developed but, to me, it’s been a failure,” Petraszko said. “This might be a good opportunity to start thinking about updating what that PUD is supposed to be used for. I think 99 percent of the township probably have no problem with this facility being built right there.”

Kibler agreed with Petraszko, saying the site’s height seemed to be the only major concern for the board.

Commissioner Ann Harris said although she thinks Wacker Chemical is a good company, she could not vote in favor of recommending the application.

“Just a reminder: it was the residents themselves that negotiated this PUD…I shouldn’t think we could impose any changes seeing that it was the residents themselves who negotiated this,” Harris said. “In another place the building might be fine, but I don’t think we can look at a building in isolation. We have to look where it is, what the impacts are on the surrounding area.”

Antonio Sanchez's picture
Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez is an experienced journalist who covered city and county government for the Rio Rancho Observer in New Mexico.