By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Semi-custom kitchen, bathroom and office solutions manufacturer SOLLiD Cabinetry is looking to expand its operations with a new headquarters, manufacturing and distribution facility on 17.5 acres at the SWC of Germann Road and Stearman Drive in Chandler.
The company has requested an Area Plan Amendment to the Chandler Airpark Area Plan from Parks and Open Space to Light Industrial, as well as rezoning to Planned Area Development for light industrial and Preliminary Development Plan approval for the site layout and building architecture. Chandler Municipal Airport is on the site’s southwest boundary.
In a memo to the Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission, planning staff notes the proposed site was previously designated Parks and Open Space to allow for expansion of the airport runway. “The City has had numerous opportunities to acquire the property for future expansion, however, has never exercised the decision to purchase the property,” the memo states.
Information on SOLLiD’s website notes the company started operations in 2008-2009 in a three-car garage with three employees and now operates out of an 85KSF facility. Offerings include three distinct product lines as well as accessories, hoods and mantles. It sells through a private dealer network, maintains a showroom in Tempe and, according to a 2014 article on Yahoo! Finance, has a workforce of more than 70 employees.
According to the company’s media contact, SOLLiD hopes to have definitive information on the planned expansion in about a month.
The proposed development calls for four access points to the site, three along Germann and one on Stearman. A single, centrally located building is proposed. The site plan calls for two phases, with the first being 140.6KSF and the second at 110.4. “While two phases are shown, it is anticipated that the site will be constructed in a single phase,” according to the memo. It goes on to state a small office building is under consideration for the eastern end, which will require separate PDP approval if it is not consistent with the main building.
When reviewed by the Airport Commission, the airport administrator noted conflicts with existing/planned airport uses and recommended mitigations and corrective actions should the request be approved, including notification coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and Airport Operations prior to construction. Mitigations include coordination with FAA and Airport Operations of outdoor maintenance activities that require a crane, a formal acknowledgement of the impacts and risks associated with flight activity, and the dedication of an avigational easement to the city.
Planning staff supported the request and found the proposed use appropriate for the location. They noted there are often issues and difficulties associated with locating a business so close to an airport, but wrote, “Planning staff finds that the impacts that other uses feel are largely negated by the nature of the business. Historically, concerns about noise attenuation and large numbers of employees and patrons cause concern when adjacent to the airport, however in the case of the subject site the number of employees are far fewer than what could be expected for an office building, and the nature of the use as a cabinet manufacturer where internal noise is a constant during the building process, the anticipation of complaint generation regarding the airplane and helicopter noise will be virtually non-existent.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission heard the recommendation on Aug. 15. As of press time, results of the meeting had not been posted, and messages left for city staff were not returned.