Berry Plastics cleared the first major hurdle in its efforts to build a 600,000-square-foot warehouse off the Farmers Turnpike.
Douglas County commissioners unanimously agreed to rezone 97 acres of property at East 700 and North 1800 roads from agricultural land to light-industrial use at their meeting Wednesday evening.
The County Commission still has to approve a preliminary plat, site plans and a tax abatement before the warehouse can be built.
The warehouse facility will create 11 new jobs and have about 200 employees. Along with storage, the building will house a printing operation that decorates the plastic products made at the manufacturing plant in Lawrence.
By building a new warehouse, 35,000 square feet of space will be freed up at the manufacturing plant in Lawrence that could one day allow for expanding operations.
“At the main facility, we are landlocked. We have little or no room available at that location to accommodate (expansion) or the ability to add on for a warehouse. Obviously that’s not a good situation to be in,” said Ross Freese, engineering manager at Berry Plastics.
The new warehouse would give the Lawrence facility a “competitive advantage” over the company’s 65 other sites, Freese said.
Neighbors and community members submitted letters expressing concerns about increased truck traffic and the potential for the area to become a nexus for industrial development. However, no one attending Wednesday’s meeting spoke out against the project.