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­Forney City Council still undecided on allowing ice machine structure near Brookshire's

Forney's City Council met for their bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 20 at Forney City Hall. A City employee was recognized for a job well done, and then the Council settled in for an hour long debate regarding an ice machine.

Forney Fire Marshall John Holcomb was given the Star Employee Award for his outstanding efforts to bring Forney's ISO rating from a 4 to a 2, which in turn will lower homeowner's insurance costs in Forney. Holcomb called it a “team effort” and said, “Thank you all for this award.”

An ice machine structure request caused a thorough discussion between Mayor Darren Rozell, City Manager Brian Brooks, the Council, Forney Community Development Director Peter Morgan, and the property owner Mike Adams. Adams was requesting a an amendment to the City of Forney Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance that would add the use of an “Ice Machine Structure.”

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The agenda summary statement describes the ice machine structure as “a freestanding, self-contained facility designed to store and/or manufacture ice for the purpose of dispensing the same on-site at any time.” The ice machine would be located on a small piece of property at 512 Pinson Road adjacent to Brookshire's on the West side of Settler's convenience store.

The structure would be about the size of three cola vending machines side by side, with a total of less than 250 square feet, and would have a 100% masonry exterior. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 to approve the amendment on November 8 which would require the machine to be no closer than 50 feet from a right of way. The Council however, was not convinced that the ice machine, provided by a company called Twice The Ice, would be safe to have in that location. Mayor Rozell expressed his concerned that approving Mr. Adams request would open the door to many other requests for ice machine structures in Forney.

forney-ice-machineCouncilman James Hatley felt that the high traffic area of Brookshire's, Settlers, Dairy Queen, and the Motel 8 would make for a dangerous location for the ice machine structure due to high levels of traffic. Councilwoman Mary Penn voiced her opinion that she did not see any harm in allowing the structure and didn't feel it would lead to multiple ice machine requests if the ordinance was written properly. Mike Adams spoke to the Council to explain the details of his request and noted that the structure would be 190 feet away from Pinson Road. He intends to create four parking spaces next to the structure and told the Council that he lives just a few blocks away and would be able to respond if there were any problems with the machine.

Currently some cities have ordinances banning the machines, while others have allowed them. Terrell, Rowlett and Kaufman each have one, Mesquite has two (see photo to the right -- of the Galloway/Hillcrest ice machine), and Dallas has 22 of the structures. Adams feels that it is the perfect fit for the small piece of property that he owns, and reminded the Council that it will generate revenue and in turn will generate tax income for the City. He explained that people will get twice the amount of ice they would normally get for the same price they pay at a store. The machine on Galloway provides customers with a 16 pound bag of ice for just $1.75.

Councilman Ray Stephens suggested the Council table the discussion until further information can be obtained as to how to limit the number of ice machines in the City. The motion to table the discussion was approved, with Councilman Hobbs voting against tabling the issue. Members of the public are welcome at City Council meetings to express their opinions on this debate and others during the public forum section of the meeting. The next City Council meeting is at 6 p.m. on December 4 at City Hall.
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