The Elk Grove Planning Commission on July 15 unanimously approved the Kubota Tractor Corp.’s plan to have its western division headquarters built on a 39-acre site on the south side of Grant Line Road, at the future Waterman Road extension.

This property is located within the recently annexed Southeast Industrial Area Specific Plan, and is zoned “light industrial.” That site, which was purchased by the city in 2014 for nearly $4.4 million, was once envisioned for a Major League Soccer stadium as well as a potential home for the Sacramento County Fair.

Included in the Kubota Tractor project will be a new, 632,000-square-foot manufacturing and assembly building, and landscaping and parking improvements.

The 50-foot-6-inch-tall building will include offices in its southwest corner. That component will house office and administration functions of the company.

Also included on the site will be Kubota University along the Grant Line Road side of the property. The university will allow the company to bring in associates from other facilities for training and introducing them to new equipment, maintenance and operations.

Along the remaining warehouse portion of the building will be 42 dock doors for truck loading and unloading.

Commission Vice Chair Juan Fernandez spoke favorably about the future facility.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the city, and I think this is going to be something that, one, provides a lot of jobs, and it’s going to bring a lot of structure, as well,” he said.

“One of the things when I got on the Planning Commission was how do we expand Elk Grove, how do we continue to provide more jobs, but also how do we do it in a smart manner? So, I really think this is a great project.”

While speaking in support of the project, Commission Chair George Murphey said that he believes that it could serve as a catalyst for industrial projects in the city’s Southeast Policy Area, along Kammerer Road.

Bordering the project site is agricultural production property that was not included in the recent annexation. The city staff report for this hearing notes that the Kubota facility and its neighboring agriculturally used property could coexist due to building setbacks between those properties.

The project also includes a special parking permit for the reduction of the site’s number of parking spaces, from 1,281 to 292 spaces. There will also be 107 trailer parking stalls.

Thirty-two acres of the site will be used for the project, while 7 acres of the property will be used for a stormwater detention facility.

Antonio Ablog, the city’s planning manager, complimented the future building’s architecture.

“As far as industrial architecture goes, we believe this is a well-designed building,” he said.

He noted that the building is not “just monotonous,” and is broken up with materials and color.

“This does form a semi-gateway into our industrial area and we think (that appearance) provides a great example of industrial architecture,” he said.

The scheduling of employees will involve staggered start times, so that smaller groups of employees will arrive at separate times for their shifts. The maximum number of employees that will work at the site at any given time will be 115.

During the commission’s deliberation, Commissioner Juan Fernandez requested a more thorough evaluation of three trees slated for removal on the project site.

“There are three trees of local interest that are being requested to be removed simply for utilities access,” he said. “I might ask that we double-check if those absolutely need to be removed as part of the tree permit.”