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October 3, 2013

County applies to be part of trade zone

Comments are being sought on the planned inclusion of Hunt County as part of a foreign trade zone.

The county is being considered for inclusion under the existing Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) 39, which currently consists of Dallas, Tarrant, Kaufman, Collin, Grayson and Denton counties.

An application for Hunt County to become part of an expanded FTZ 39 was submitted August 29 to the Foreign Trade Zones Board by the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board.

Under foreign-trade zones, foreign and domestic merchandise is considered to be outside the country, and therefore outside of U.S. Customs territory for purposes of duty payment. Within the zones companies are able to manufacture, assemble, test, sample, process, and repackage.

The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted in July to vote to formally include the county under the zone.

The creation of the zone has involved a process which has taken years to develop.

The Greenville City Council voted in June 2012 to amend the bylaws of the Greenville 4A Economic Development Corporation, allowing the agency to act as a grantee for the zone.

The Council approved the agency’s request to serve as the grantee in September 2011 and IMS Worldwide Incorporated initiated the application process for the establishment of the zone, but the amendment of the bylaws last June was necessary for the agency to act as the grantee for the zone, allowing the Board of Development to basically act as a board of directors for zone, after its application with the United States government to establish the zone was approved.

The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted in September 2011 to support the application of Walton Development & Management and the Board of Development for the establishment of a Foreign Trade Zone site.

The board of the Hunt County Municipal Utility District No. 1 convened its organizational session in March at 3401 Private Road 1173, which is north of U.S. Highway 380 about halfway between Greenville and Farmersville and just south of the Wagner Community.

The Walton Development Group is organizing the district, which covers almost 6,700 acres, some of which is located within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Greenville. The district is expected to consist of industrial manufacturing and distribution facilities, single family residential and some commercial development.

At that time, Matt Tordit with the Walton Development Group said the plan was to start off with an industrial project tied into the Kansas City Southern and Blacklands railroads which cross the southern end of the district.

During the summer of 2012, the City of Greenville announced it was planning to provide the water and sewer service to the district, which eventually will cover an area of almost 13,000 acres, approximately nine miles west of downtown Greenville, generally bounded by FM 1080 to the north, County Road 1073 to the east, FM 3211 to the south and FM 36 to the west.

The City of Greenville would extend its extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) to eventually include the entire MUD, which would give the city the authority to establish zoning standards for the entire district.

A strategic partnership agreement would allow the city to collect sales taxes from within the MUD and earn additional revenue from the sale of water and sewer services as the area develops, while allowing for the application of the city’s subdivision standards and land use regulations to help govern the development within the district.

The district might someday develop into a small city itself with more than 21,000 units of housing proposed.

Public comments concerning the expansion of FTZ 39 to include Hunt County are being accepted through November 18. Additional information about the application, about the zone itself and the process for submitting comments is available at the FTZ Board’s web site at www.trade.gov/ftz.

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