It’ll be the largest industrial employment center that the town of Umatilla has ever had. It’s also the beginning of a new industrial park there.
The metal fabrication company Phillips Manufacturing is preparing to build a roughly 110,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in this town of 4,000 residents in north central Lake County.
On Tuesday night, the Umatilla City Council voted unanimously in favor of a site plan prepared by Halff detailing the plant to be built on vacant land in south Umatilla, west of State Road 19.
“It’s a great thing for the city,” said Aaron Mercer, Umatilla’s director of development and public services. “We don’t have a lot of employment centers here. Anything we can do to generate jobs really benefits our city.”
Based in Omaha, Nebraska, Phillips manufactures various metal products that frame and support drywall, stucco, roofing and siding. It currently has a smaller facility just south of Umatilla in the unincorporated Donna Vista community, but it plans to move into the larger manufacturing plant once it’s completed. It wasn’t immediately clear how many more employees will be working in the expanded plant, but neighbors were told at a public hearing that up to 100 employees will be working there in two shifts.
According to documents presented to the City Council, Phillips sought approval for a 117,967-square-foot manufacturing, machine shop and office facility for Phase 1 of the project, with a future Phase 2 to consist of about 50,000 more square feet. The document specifies that the maximum building height is 50 feet.
The Phillips plant is launching Umatilla’s new industrial park. For that reason, the city was already planning to extend water and sewer lines to the location.
The city has set aside 45 acres for the industrial park. On April 21, Phillips recently bought the northern 20 acres for $740,000.
The city plans to plat the remaining 25 acres of the industrial park into three parcels and put those up for sale, Mercer said.
The site is north of Lake Fern Road and west of Golden Gem Drive, bordering a mobile home park to the south and a row of houses to the east. The property used to be a spray field for treated effluent from the city’s wastewater treatment plant, before Umatilla began sending its sewage to Eustis’ wastewater facility to save money.
A handful of neighbors from Golden Gem Drive and nearby Bonaire Place came to speak to the City Council at a public hearing on Dec. 6, when the council changed the property’s zoning from “public facility” to “industrial planned unit development.”
“None of them objected,” Mercer said.
Tim Green, of the development and land planning agency Green Consulting Group, addressed neighbors’ questions about parking, traffic and landscaping buffers, according to city records.
“They’ll have up to 100 employees there, but employees will use a back entrance to the facility,” Mercer said. “The front entrance will be for UPS deliveries and administrative staffing.”
“This will be the largest industrial employment center the city’s ever had. We are excited to get this underway.”
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