Zoning changes for Texas Instruments gets approval

By Karen Daniels

At last week’s Stafford City Council meeting the room was filled with people ready to speak on two agenda items. However, due to the city’s attorney waiting for a flight to Houston (he endured a comedy of errors by the airline industry), the Mayor announced they would need to skip around these items in order to give their attorney, Art Pertile, a chance to arrive at the meeting.

The Mayor and Council discussed, at length, in a not so subtle attempt to stall time, the new bids for the employee dental plan. This conversation then continued onto their current health insurance plan, recent changes, emergency room procedures, and whatever in-depth questions, Karen Austin, the City’s Director of Finance, could answer. Finally, Council passed the new dental plan.

The Mayor and Council realized that they would have to proceed to their best ability without the benefit of their attorney. The agenda item to be discussed first: The changing of  Texas Instruments’ zoning. Currently, the ordinance is RCT (Residential Commercial and Technology), something that existed in 1967, or shortly thereafter, when T.I. first came to Fort Bend. Stafford is now requesting that Texas Insturments switch to District MU-2 (Mixed Use) for the parcel of land containing approximately 192 acres. This works well for both parties.

For Stafford, the stricter regulations will still allow growth, but a “desirable growth.” Without it businesses such as salvage yards or fish processing plants can set up shop. Mayor Scarcella said that he was, “Very encouraged to have the constructive dialogue with Texas Instruments” and commended T.I. on what they have done for Fort Bend County and the City of Stafford over the years.

The benefit to Texas Instruments is this will allow the land to be platted and sold to possibly more than one buyer, if need be. Representatives from T.I. announced that at this time, they are “not aware of any current buyers.”

However, several times it was discussed that the property could be used as a grocery store with or without a fueling station.

Texas Instruments’ last day of operation on the site is schedule for January 23, 2013. T.I. thanked the Mayor and Council for their respectful handling of the zoning change.

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