Midlothian will soon be gaining a new downtown restaurant, as the City Council on Tuesday night approved a specific use permit for Big D Barbecue in the 200 block of West Avenue F.

The restaurant will occupy three existing lots. City planning director Trenton Robertson said a specific use permit is required because the restaurant will exceed 1,000 square feet in size.

Most of the discussion centered on a cluster of three shipping containers to be incorporated as part of the restaurant site, with two of them stacked. The containers will be blended into the existing structure.

Jordy Jordan, the tenant and restaurateur, told council members the containers would be used for storage, a smoker and a kitchen area, and would be offset from the main building, reducing fire risk. Jordan said the containers are necessary to open up space for a dining area.

Council member Mike Rodgers stated his objection to the use of shipping containers in the city in general. He cited a City Council matter from several years ago involving the use of containers at Love’s Travel Stop, and the city’s prior restrictions on such containers.

Rodgers said he personally isn’t against stores that need containers for storage, such as Love’s, Walmart and Tractor Supply, but approving them could “open up a whole new doorway.”

“Do we want this?” Rodgers asked. “The problem I’m experiencing is, I thought we had a pretty pro-‘This ain’t gonna happen in Midlothian’ stance. We do have a different council now. So I’m kind of caught in the middle … It seems like we’re changing our stance now and when we open this door, what are we really opening it to in the big picture?”

City manager Chris Dick said the Love’s matter involved several infractions, and added that the city has set parameters on where shipping containers can be used.

Robertson noted that containers used as structures are not regulated in the city’s zoning ordinances for non-residential areas, but they must meet all building code and zoning ordinance requirements.

Road plan changes

The council approved changing the Thoroughfare Plan in the area of the current Industrial Park in the vicinity of Eastgate Road and South Walnut Grove Road, coming on the heels of several discussions in previous meetings. A second alteration was OK’d for the western part of the city, where a planned major arterial designation for a section of Ward Road was downgraded to a minor arterial.

The plan for a future major collector with an 80-foot right-of-way extending Robinson Road to South Walnut Grove Road was changed to a minor collector, with only a 60-foot right-of-way. The route of this thoroughfare was realigned with an already-approved planned development, and will intersect with Walnut Grove at a point north of the originally planned junction, Robertson told the council.

In the western part of the city, a section of a planned 120-foot major arterial for Ward Road between U.S. Highway 287 and Old Fort Worth Road was reduced to a minor arterial with a 90-foot right of way.

Robertson said this thoroughfare, which forms a western loop between U.S. 287 and U.S. 67, has a section that is already shown in a planned development as a 90-foot minor arterial, and this thoroughfare already exists as a 90-foot north of U.S. 287. Robertson said the thoroughfare plan needed to be changed to be consistent with the approved development.

Other items

• An ordinance to alter the zoning of about 3.3 acres — the south half of Lot 16 and all of Lot 17 in Rolling Wood Estates — was approved, as the tract was changed from Agricultural to Single Family Two for residential use. The property, which is located at 4081 Rolling Wood Lane, is being replatted from two lots to three, which brings the acreage per lot under the Agricultural standard and requires a rezoning according to city ordinances, Robertson said.

• A $57,195 agreement with Insituform Technologies Inc. of Corinth for the city’s manhole rehabilitation program in the RailPort and MidTowne developments was OK’d by the council. Public works director Adam Mergener said the rehab is part of an ongoing project that is about one-third complete, with about 900 manholes to go. The council in February approved an agreement with Insituform to rehab the Airport and Harvest Hill trunk lines at cost of just less than $150,000.

• An interlocal agreement with the Trinity River Authority of Texas for specialized testing services for the Mountain Creek Regional Wastewater System and a $131,349 budget expenditure for this testing were approved.