A planned expansion of Pearland-based Associated Equipment Company remains derailed due to a missing fire hydrant.
The Pearland Economic Development Corp. board on Monday approved $75,000 in funding needed to facilitate the expansion, including replacing the hydrant that was removed during the widening of 35.
Jerry Koza Jr., whose family has been in business in Pearland for 45 years, said at least four other locally owned businesses – from electricians to custodial services to its architect – have a stake in the planned 29,000-square-foot office warehouse at 1603 Main St.
But after the hydrant was removed during the widening and reconstruction project, the city instead of replacing it laid the responsibility at his door, Koza said.
After much discussion at the June 23 city council meeting, it was pointed out that the appropriate course of action is for the business to obtain a PEDC grant to have the hydrant replaced. The council during that meeting approved a requested zone change needed for the expansion.
But Koza – joined by numerous supporters and other business owners – doesn’t believe the task of replacing a hydrant that had been on the property more than three decades should fall on the expanding business, and likely will stand his ground. He said the company has two other options — neither of which lies within the city — where the expansion could be built.
“Our contention is we shouldn’t have to put the fire hydrant in,” Koza said. “We don’t think it’s our job.”
A more sensible solution, he said, would be for the city to use the approved funds to replace the hydrant it took away.
Pearland City Council is set to hold its next regular meeting July 14 at City Hall. The council typically meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.