San Benito: Trucking Company Clears Zoning Hurdle for New Freight Terminal
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Benito (Cameron County) — The City Commission approved a conditional use permit to operate a freight truck terminal on 16.65 acres located on undeveloped land on the city’s southeast side.
The applicant is a Brownsville-based freight trucking company that parks and maintains its fleet in several locations and is looking to consolidate.
“This company is an established company out of Brownsville. They have three different locations, one off the expressway in Brownsville, and they are hoping to move to San Benito and make this their headquarters,” the city Planning & Development Department director, Bernard Rodriguez, told the commissioners at the June 15 meeting.
The project includes a gated entrance, a 5,590 square-foot two-story administration building, a maintenance building and warehouse facility, and a parking terminal for the tractor-trailer fleet. The commission was told that the owner has about 150 trucks.
Bird’s-eye perspective of a concept for the TE Freight Truck Terminal. Courtesy: HDC Inc.
Rodriguez claimed the construction project has a $1 million value. The initial project will not make use of the entire 16.65 acres. Rodriguez told the commission that because the city is handling this as a conditional use permit (CUP), when the time comes that further development is presented, “that will come before you, should they need another type of construction.”
Passage of the CUP allows city staff to work with the developer on the next phase, which is creation of a subdivision. The CUP was approved with several conditions:
Compliance with all city ordinances, including subdivision and utilities regulations.
Construction of a six-foot masonry privacy fence around the terminal perimeter to shield site operations by mitigating the illumination of headlights, fumes and blowing debris.
Submission and approval of a Traffic Impact Analysis.
Submission of a preliminary site plan.
Access into and exiting the terminal will be from FM 732 (Scaief Road). There was some concern expressed by the mayor and commissioners about the freight traffic because the terminal will not be next to U.S. Highway 83/77, but about a quarter mile south in an agricultural area.
The property meets the northeast corner of the FM 732 and Yost Road intersection. The commission demanded assurances that freight traffic would never get on Yost Road, a city maintained street that is not designed for heavy vehicles.
The city’s master plan sets up FM 732 south of the expressway as the dividing line between residential and commercial development. West of FM 732, the fate of agricultural land will be restricted to residential use. East of FM 732, where the terminal is to be located, future development can be commercial and industrial. The one exception to this is a parcel west of FM 732 by the expressway (between Dr. Garza Elementary and an elevated municipal water storage tank) that the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District has reserved for future construction of a performing arts center and natatorium.
Transcar Express project site aerial map. Image: Google Earth/VBX graphic.
FM 732 is maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation. The terminal traffic plan must be approved by TxDOT and there were concerns that improvements may have to be made, such as a deceleration lane. FM 732 is a two-lane road with paved shoulders.
Miguel A. Cardenas, the owner of Transcar Express LLC, is the owner/developer. Cardenas purchased the land in December 2015 through another company he controls, Santillana Properties LLC.
Cardenas retained the services of two Brownsville companies–Home & Commercial Designs LLC to design the freight terminal, and of Arteva Construction LLC to be the general contractor.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.