Planning board supports issuing call center permit
|U.S. Field Research plans to convert a building in the Ridge Road Industrial Park into a call center and start operations by March if all goes well. The county planning board conducted a special meeting last Tuesday to approve a conditional use permit for the business in an industrial zone.|
Last week, the county planning and zoning board decided to recommend a conditional use permit for U.S. Field Research to move into a facility in the Ridge Road Industrial Park once renovation is completed at the site.
The recommendation must now be taken up with the county commission at the March 2 meeting for final approval.
The permit process was started at the beginning of the month when the county economic development director Delynn Fielding approached the planning board with the request for a special meeting to consider the situation.
Granting a conditional use permit for a business like U.S. Field Research is unusual because it is a call center type of enterprise. The permit had to do with the type of facility where the operation will be located rather than the business.
Last year, the planning board told the developer that the county wanted to keep a handle on what kinds of businesses were going into the park.
Since the county wanted to know what kinds of processes and materials the businesses would use, a conditional permit would be needed when a building was leased.
But at last week's board meeting, county planning and zoning director Dave Levanger questioned the process.
"Some of what we will see in that park will be some pretty light duty stuff," pointed out Levanger. "I think that much of this can be handled through the development code rather than this process. I think some of this might be micro-management of a problem that could be handled through other channels."
Since the development park was originally set up to house industrial tenants, the planning and zoning board assumed that many of the businesses may have hazards that should be known before hand.
However, the one existing tenant at the park and U.S. Field Research are non-hazardous businesses.
The board members said they would consider the points Levanger brought up at a later date.
During last week's meeting, U.S. Field Research chief executive officer Rix Ryskamp explained what the company planned to do in Carbon County.
"We will have an outbound call center that will initially employ 50 to 70 people," said Ryskamp. "Eventually, we can move that up to 100 people if needed in that building. If we have to go beyond that, we will need additional space. There will be a lot of entry level jobs at the facility."
There was also some questions about parking, but Ryskamp said that the developer told him he would provide as many spaces as the company needs as they grow. There was also some joking going on about the situation because the park is virtually without buildings despite the fact it has all the improvements, including paved street and gutters, in. For that reason there is also plenty of on street parking as well on the empty streets.
After the meeting in a short interview with the Sun Advocate Ryskamp said that his company is presently located in Orem and wants to expand here largely because of the good work force.
"Because of the number of jobs available along the Wasatch Front we are having a hard time keeping people in our center there," he said. "We are hoping this work force will be more stable for us."
As for management, Ryskamp owns a number of companies and will not relocate here himself. But he will have management for the facility living in the area.
"One of our management staff in Orem actually lives in Helper and has been commuting daily," said Ryskamp. "I think he will certainly have something to do with the management of this operation when it gets going."
The company hopes to have it's business here up and running by the end of March.