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3-story business center in Red Oak put on hold

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Local feed store owners say, ‘Wall will drive us out'
JOEY DAUBEN
The Ellis County Press

RED OAK - The fact the city would agree to provide water, sewer and streets to a new development angered local feed store owner Walter Granzin and his wife Nelda.

After being annexed into the city in 1997, Granzin and his feed store on Ovilla Road still have not received water and sewer, but when the father of Mayor Todd Little came before the city council Monday, July 14, proposing a three-story business center with plans for restaurants at Interstate Highway 35 - next door to Granzin's feed store - it appeared city services would be provided almost immediately.

'We need to provide sewer to other parts of the city, too - like the places we annexed,' said Councilman Danny Douthit. 'I'm not trying to stifle Mr. Little's development. I just want the public to get something.'

Ben Little said he bought vacant land at the corner of I-35 and Ovilla Road in hopes of turning part of it into a three-story professional office building - an insurance and mortgage company and a bank have already been mentioned as possible tenants, Little said. There would also be three to four pad sites available for possible restaurant loca-

tions, he said.

The Economic Development Corporation, the city's tool to recruit new businesses, estimates it would contribute up to $70,000 for providing an L-shaped street for Little's Alliance Business Center.

Sewer lines would be extended north and then west to the development, but would also benefit the feed store by allowing them to tap into the lines.

'But [providing water, sewer] is something the city should have already done,' the Granzins said.

Additionally, an eight-foot screening wall Little wants to place on his property would drive their feed store out of business, according to the Granzin's.

According to Little, his wall - which would be set back 20 feet from Ovilla Road, according to current plans - was intended to stop sight of places to the west and to the south of the development.

'But you're still going to see things over the wall with a three-story building,' Nelda Granzin said.

When Douthit tried to bring up the issue about providing water and sewer to the feed store and other parts of the recently-annexed residents, Red Oak City attorney Betsy Elam tried to direct him back 'to the agenda.'

'What happened to the days the developers paid for [water, sewer]?' Douthit asked.

Elam also said there was not a requirement Red Oak had to provide services to annexed property. And in what could be a future issue for the city is the fact - according to Douthit - Red Oak plans to use a portion of Little's recently-bought property for a one-million-gallon above-ground water storage tank.

City council members voted unanimously to table, or put on hold, Little's request for a preliminary plat until the water, sewer and screening wall issues are resolved.

Mayor Little recused himself from the meeting, due to possible conflict of interest requirements.

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