By Richard Smith, Independent Newsmedia
A Canadian-based modular structure builder enters Tuesday’s City Council meeting poised to expand its American manufacturing plant in Surprise.
To do so CampCorp would need a zoning change on its property and a general plan map amendment on a nearly 76-acre portion of the Foxfire Commerce Park, north of Bell Road and east of Grand Avenue.
Both proposals were approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this month and are on the council agenda Tuesday. The council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.
“You could become one of the city’s largest employers very soon and that’s exciting in and of itself,” Surprise planning commissioner Matthew Keating said.
The company makes modular components for camps, and is moving into residential and commercial production including retail stores, office buildings and homes.
CampCorp approached the city about rezoning its property from regional commercial to general industrial on the 25-plus-acre property. The parties have worked on this and the proposed general plan amendment for more than a year.
The proposed amendment would add business park and industrial to the land uses allowed in this area..
Surprise planner Hobart Wingard said the deliberate nature of the timeline was to ensure winter visitor input.
“A lot of these uses are geared toward heavier commercial and industrial uses,” Surprise planner Mr. Wingard said.
Rick Charles COO of CampCorp USA said the expansion is driven by activity and the change in the modular industry. He said between 850 and 1,000 modular units have been built at the site in the last four years.
CampCorp plans to put together buildings for the Ottawa University Arizona campus at the Civic Center.
The general plan amendment would allow the company to use an existing rail spur in the area, Mr. Wingard said. They would be bringing the materials to the site and will be trucking out the final product.
The rezone will correct the company’s legal nonconforming status to conforming allowing the expansion of use on the largely vacant parcel.
“We want to bring in the raw materials on rail. That immediately cuts it in half,” Mr. Charles said. “In terms of the traffic flow, we’ve had no issue with the multiple modules. I think history will show that in the four years with the modules we’ve been hauling out, we haven’t created any kind of problems on the roads and I don’t anticipate anything different.”
This location was originally a factory for building houses for Sun City West. Surprise annexed the area in 1996.
The railroad spur on southwest border of the site is a remnant from past manufacturing operations.
Two concerned Sun City West residents contacted the city earlier in the process. Commissioner Keating asked about heavy construction noise in the night.
Mr. Wingard said there is a 60 foot channel between area and homes and that the landscaping can be used as a buffer.
Commissioner Mitchell Rosenbaum suggested more noise abatement measures
“I’m familiar with some of the folks in Sun City West and I think that could represent an inconvenience for them,” Mr. Rosenbaum said.