TORONTO - A company related to oil and gas drilling locating to the city was discussed during Monday's City Council meeting.
Rick Trzaskoma, city zoning director, told council Express Energy Services from Houston, a company catering to gas and oil drilling in the area, is on the verge of signing a lease with Biasi Realty to move into a building at 1515 Franklin Ave., which formerly housed J&J Auto Sales.
Trzaskoma told council members the zoning committee held a public hearing April 6 on whether to allow the property to be rezoned from residential-commercial to industrial.
REZONING NEEDED — A gas and oil drilling related company is eyeing the former J&J Auto Sales building in Toronto. City Council is considering approving rezoning the property as an industrial site. -- Linda Harris
"(Biasi Reality) is negotiating with a company providing production and support servicing for the oil and gas industry," said Trzaskoma.
The company uses about 20 light-duty trucks and about five to seven heavy-duty trucks, said Trzaskoma, adding the company would hire 35 employees initially, and that number could grow to 90 employees and up to 50 being hired from the local area. Trzaskoma also said the zoning committee had recommended council approve the rezoning, and the move was needed to seal the deal. He added there was no public opposition during the public hearing.
"The city has been working with (Mike) Biasi to find a purpose for that building," said Trzaskoma, adding city leaders also have been working with Progress Alliance on the proposal. He also said the move would bring new jobs and tax dollars to the city.
"There also will be no toxic chemicals stored at the building," Trzaskoma noted.
Biasi said if council approves the re-zoning, the company could be up and running at the site by May.
"We do have a lease (negotiated), and we hope to sign it by (today)," said Biasi, adding the lease would initially be for one year. "Our goal is to get them into that building and hopefully get them to agree on more than a one-year lease. Hopefully, this is a positive sign for Toronto."
City Mayor John Geddis said trucks used by the company would be within the legal load limits, according to city ordinances.
"It's one of those businesses we're not used to dealing with," said Geddis, adding the building is adjacent to a city industrial zone. "This is a big boom, and we want to share in that. But we also want to protect our environments and our neighborhoods."
Ed Looman, executive director of Progress Alliance, told council members the company was highly regarded by the business advocacy organization.
"This is a first-class company we are dealing with," said Looman. "We hope it's the first of many that hopefully will be moving here. This is a prime example of what we can do if we work together."
Council approved the zoning request 5-0.
In other matters:
- George Komar, president of the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization, asked council if there had been any movement on its proposal for bike and walking pathways through the city.
Third Ward councilman Jason Fogle, chairman of the safety committee, said the committee and city safety Director John Parker still are studying the issue, and they hoped to discuss more details on the proposal during the next safety committee meeting.
- Geddis asked council for permission to hire an individual to collect cats and other feral animals in the city. He added the animals are destructive and a nuisance and need to be taken to animal shelters or environments more suited for the animals. Council approved the request 5-0.