Fifty new jobs will be added to the workforce at Southern Welding, located off of Farm-to-Market 877 in Waxahachie, with the approval of a specific use permit at Wednesday’s planning and zoning meeting.

The permit will allow the company to store raw materials and newly constructed frac tanks, which are used for natural gas drilling, on its property.

“These products will go to the Barnett Shale out west of here and will go to east and south Texas. The drilling is going on everywhere so we are not limited just to this area. (It’s) all over the geographical United States. These tanks will be fitted with axles and everything will be licensed with a (department of transportation). They are airtight and they are basically a water truck. They don’t contain chemicals or anything,” Southern Welding representative Chris Kelley told the commission.

“We are looking to produce, in the first six months of operations, 10 to 12 tanks per week,” he said. “I say that you’re probably looking at a maximum of 20-25 trucks picking up the finished product and delivering raw materials a week – maybe not that many, because that would be a busy week. We hope to be operational in 30 days and we are currently hiring to create 50 jobs right now. We hope that by 2012 we will be up to 100 full time jobs in there.”

Adjoining property owner and resident Kenneth Reeves expressed his concern about the need for some screening to be done with trees because his back yard looks onto the lot where the tanks would be stored. Kelley told the commission that his company would be glad to provide screening.

Reeves’ other concern was about the amount of heavy truck traffic and its impact on the roadway, with Kelley saying that deliveries would take place from 7 a.m. to no later than 6 p.m.

In other business, the commission approved a zoning amendment request by Brekenglenn LTD for a specific use permit to change a 20-foot building line to a 10-foot building line on a side yard at 420 W. Franklin St.

The commission also approved a replat of tract 4B in Whispering Meadows.

Also discussed were potential zoning changes relating to sandwich board type signs used by businesses and the use of digital signs.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1458.