Belen

Big plans are in the works for the mesa west of Belen.

Campbell Farming Corporation has taken the first step to bringing a planned development industrial park to the area by applying for a zone change from Valencia County Planning and Zoning.

“We will develop 1,200 acres in a four-phase plan,” Robert Gately, president of Campbell Farming Corp., said of the area that is a quarter mile northwest of Belen’s Alexander Airport.

“The first phase of Campbell Business Center will include a light- industry park, a commercial area and a recreation area,” he said. “We also plan to have a training center to help companies moving to the park prepare their work force.”

Unlike Gately’s first an-nouncement about the industrial park two years ago, he said this plan will not include heavy industry, such as the paper mill or power plant he once proposed.

“It is not economically sound to pursue the power plant and paper mill concept,” he said. “Instead, we have hired Brian O’Hare to develop an industrial park like the ones he developed in Santa Teresa (N.M.) and San Diego (Calif.).”

“The purpose of a planned development district is to have a comprehensive plan rather than a traditional parcel-by-parcel development,” said O’Hare, who has been in the industrial development business since 1984.

“The benefit of this type of park is that the infrastructure is in place prior to marketing the park. This, in turn, gives companies a faster start-up.”

When companies decided to relocate, they want to do it within four months, according to O’Hare. “Without a planned development, the company would have to deal with zoning issues, water issues and other issues that would slow down their start-up.”

Prior to marketing the park, Campbell Farming would install the infrastructure of sewer, water, electricity, natural gas, communication lines and curbed streets to each lot.

The infrastructure portion of the development, which will take a year to complete, is an $8.5 million project.

“The first thing we will do is improve Marble Quarry Road south of the Alexander Airport and Taya Road, which connects Marble Quarry Road and the industrial park,” O’Hare said.

“These roads will have a 120-foot right-of-way and ultimately be four lanes. Once inside the park, streets off of the main arterial streets will be 72-feet-wide. These streets will be landscaped and have pedestrian paths.”

The park’s sewer system will be self-contained. “The sewer plant package processes between 100,000 and 125,000 gallons per day. The treated affluent will then be used to water our landscaping and the recreational area, which will include soccer and baseball fields. In the future, a golf course is planned,” O’Hare said.

Potable water will be purchased from the City of Belen’s west mesa well and water tank to the north of the development.

The first phase of the park would include 16 industrial sites and the sewer plant, as well as the soccer and baseball fields in the recreation area, for a total of 256 acres.

Phase two would include 20 industrial sites and a commercial area.

“The commercial area will have businesses to support the employees of the industrial plants,” O’Hare said “such as a restaurant and stores. There is also a site planned for emergency, fire and security services.”

Once the infrastructure is in place, Campbell Business Center’s economic development team will market the center to various manufacturers clean industry, O’Hare said.

“We will have covenants that the companies will have to honor,” he said, “such as no outside storage of produce or supplies. And no freight docks visible from the street.”

One of the marketing tools and services to the prospective companies would be a training center, where future employees could be trained while the facility is being built.

“The training center is a critical component of Campbell Business Center,” said Gately. “One thing we are aware of is the need for a trained work force, to attract companies to the area.”

“We will offer the training center so companies may hire their employees as soon as we begin building their facility,” O’Hare said. “We will offer to put the type of equipment needed for the training in the center. If they don’t want the service to be provided here, we will offer to send their employees to one of their current plants to be trained, with us picking up the expense of travel, room and board for the people while they are being trained.”

Since O’Hare has developed the Santa Teresa Industrial Park, 18 companies have moved there in the last two years and hired 1,400 employees.

“The Valencia County location is ideal for industrial growth,” O’Hare said. “There is quick access to a north-south and east-west interstate. There is also the main east-west rail line within six miles of the park, for a future development of an intermodal park.”

Prior to beginning work on the park, Campbell Farming Corp. must receive a zone change for the land. The company has submitted an application to change the zoning category from outland to planned development district.

The application is expected to go before the Valencia County Planning and Zoning Commis-sion at its June meeting. There will also be several public meetings regarding the proposed park.

“This is a three-step process,” said Ruben Chavez, the county’s planning and zoning enforcement officer. “First, they must get the zoning change. Then they must process each subdivision phase as it is developed. The planned-development zoning sets up requirements and standards to which the development will be built.

“Once the subdivision is approved, then the individual companies will have to come before the county for site design review.”

Chavez said this is the first time Valencia County has had such a zone-change request since the new comprehensive zoning plan was developed.

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Jane Moorman