Incoming oil boom continues to bring change

Sweetwater continues to prepare for the incoming oil boom, as items presented at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday morning, January 8 at City Hall will bring about more change.One item approved by the commissioners was an ordinance which amends Chapter 18 of the city's Code of Ordinances by adding Article 3. The new article outlines "freight and portable storage containers" by detailing their definition, their prohibition as an accessory structure or building, and providing exceptions and penalties.While a freight container is being defined as a standardized reusable vessel, a portable container is the same type of container, but smaller. The ordinance would prohibit containers' use in the city limit, with two exceptions.One exception would be for use in construction projects, but they would have to be moved at a certain stage of completion in the project. Also, containers already in existence could remain as long as they are anchored, painted tan or beige, and a permit for its use would need to be obtained at City Hall.And in the event that a container was discontinued in its use, it could no longer be used. Eddie Brown, the Sweetwater City Manager, noted that the purpose of the change is due to the increase of containers in the city--in which there are around 25 currently in the city limits, with a smaller amount actually in compliance--and to also prepare for the potential oil boom.The other item approved was the sale by SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) of 5 acres of land located in the southeastern corner of the Sweetwater Business Park at the cost of $4,000 per acre. This amount is the same rate given for previous sales of land at the park.Ken Becker, the Executive Director of SEED, addressed the commission on the matter. The lot was sold to an oil company that has operations located in Texas and New Mexico.The SEED board will meet on Monday, January 14 to formally hear and approve the matter, but this sale will result in the Sweetwater Business Park being completely full. Becker stated that discussions are already taking place for a second industrial park for Sweetwater.