Magnablend move angers citizens
WAXAHACHIE – Magnablend has been at the height of criticism from many area residents after the disastrous plant explosion Monday, Oct. 3. located at Eastbound Highway 287 and Interstate Highway 35.
Now, it’s potential move to the former Superconducting Super Collider site is gaining opposition.
At least 70 in opposition were at the Ellis County Commissioners Court meeting Monday, Jan. 9.
A discussion-only agenda item regarding a possible increase in weight limits on Arrowhead Road, adjacent to the property commonly referred to as the SSC, was of hot debate.
If the plant moves, large semi-trucks will be driving down long stretches of road leading up to the facility.
Those opposed to the new location fear what happened in October, might happen again.
Investigators found chemicals released in Waxahachie stemming from the plant explosion were toxic, resulting in hundreds of dead fish in nearby lakes and streams.
At the time, a local chemist said the chemicals in the fire could possibly pose “cancer risk to death for those with compromised lung function with asthmatics particularly at risk for bronchospasm, as well as chemical pneumonitis for those closest to the fire.”
According to their website, Magnablend, Inc. provides custom chemical blending, manufacturing, and packaging services. It offers liquid and powder blending services; and specialty chemical blending services, such as exothermic and endothermic reactions, anhydrous ammonia, powder spraying, polymer dispersions, and precision accuracy.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Heath Sims did not know when or if a move was planned yet but, more than one residents living in the area have already seen semi trucks going down to the proposed location.
“As I have stated I am not in favor of the potential move of Magnablend to the old SSC location and do not think this is at all the best suited location,” stated Sims via an email interview.
“I also understand that Ellis County does not have any authority to deny or regulate this type of business.”
The opposition, stemming from mostly property owners in the area of the new location site, are concerned and demand more transparency from government.
“We are normal everyday citizens that have sought peaceful family life,” said Alex Schindler, spokesperson for the newly formed group, “Ellis County Concerned Citizens.”
According to a news release by the county, during the commissioners court meeting Assistant County Attorney Lee Auvenshine explained to the audience the county does not have zoning authority over the SSC property. The county only has the authority to regulate those specific businesses called out in the statutes, namely sexually oriented businesses, outdoor recycling, salvage yards and slaughterhouses.
As a prior owner of the SSC complex, the county did have discretion to amend deed restrictions that were put in place when the property was sold to the current owner in 2006. One of the deed restrictions was amended at the request of Data Collider, LLC during the Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 meeting of the court.
Schindler says the opposition is growing stronger by the hour.
“We now have over 300 singed petition signatures and more are coming every hour…Our goal is to have 500 be next week.”
Sims wants his constituents to know this issue is very touching for him as well.
“This issue is very tough for me because I do not like the idea of Magnablend or any business at this location but I also believe in our capitalistic system and the freedom from government in buying property and the right of an individual to make a choice or investment and hopefully that choice will lead to success, “said Sims.
The court allowed at least 20 to speak who were in opposition, one spoke for it.
“We are not against Magnablend. We are against them moving to our pristine area,” said Schindler.
Magnablend CEO Scott Pendry has told citizens he will make himself accessible as much as possible.
Pendry was a no-show at a meeting set for last Friday, Jan.6 near the SSC citing “security reasons” but was present at the Monday hearing.
Ellis County Human Services Director Diana Buckley doesn’t think the weight limit issue on the roads will go further but, if it does, she said the next public hearing will be at the Commissioner’s Court on Monday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.