Englund Equipment Company Operations Center
- Project Management, Planning
- Topographic and Boundary Surveying, ALTA Survey
- Civil Engineering, Site Design, Utilities
Englund Equipment Company (EEC) provides materials transportation services to a variety of regional and national companies, including several Fortune 500 companies. EEC’s operation is located on a 13-acre county island within the City of Avondale, Arizona, a small fast-growing city in the southwest region of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
In early 2014, EEC determined that they needed to expand and improve their operations center to keep up with the ever-increasing trucking demands of their clients, so they turned to Westwood for assistance. EEC had already ordered five customized factory-built buildings that were to be connected together to create a state-of-the-art facility, complete with restrooms, showers, sleeping quarters, offices, and a command-and-control center. They needed Westwood’s expertise to help secure the necessary permits for the facility as quickly as possible.
Old Zoning Issues – New Regulations
Because of its age and historic uses, EEC’s site had been grandfathered into the county’s system without formal review and approval of the existing buildings, their respective uses, site drainage, site access, and overall site layout. Thus, in the county’s eyes, the site, as it currently stood, was considered a non-conforming site; however, since the operations center would be a new structure, EEC would be required to follow the county’s current regulatory review process to obtain their required permits.
Fast-Tracking the Permitting Process
Westwood immediately contacted the staff at the Maricopa County Planning & Development Department to discuss how the permits could be fast-tracked through the county’s regulatory process. In the end, it required submission of a Legal Non-Conforming (LNC) Use application for the site, which included preparing a detailed site plan for the entire 13 acres, research of historical records to substantiate the age of existing structures, and a detailed narrative explaining the history of the site, past development of the site, and the reason for the current application. Parallel with submission of the LNC Use application, Westwood submitted a building permit application for the new operations center, including a specific site plan, a grading and drainage plan, and building, electrical, and structural plans.
Validating Old Infrastructure for Current Use
Another complicating factor was that public sewer service was not available at the site, so Westwood also helped EEC develop an alternate means of sewer service. This entailed using a decades-old septic system that had once served upwards of 2,500 migrant workers housed in barracks on the site when Avondale was a farming community (in the 1930s through the 1960s). Westwood needed to convince the County Health Department that the system was still viable and had the capacity to serve the new operations center. To do so, the Westwood team performed an inspection of the existing septic system, prepared a report attesting to the system’s viability to serve the operations center, prepared a layout of the existing and proposed system, and submitted an application to the health department to approve the system’s use. Through consistent and responsive communications with the health department, Westwood was able to obtain a permit for EEC to use the existing system.
Westwood’s services also included boundary and topographic surveying, preparation of an ALTA survey map, miscellaneous meetings with county staff members, coordination with the City of Avondale Public Works Department, and processing EEC’s permit applications through the county’s regulatory system.