E-Z Line, a Manvel company established in 1952, is nearing completion of a new industrial building which will increase its manufacturing capacity on its 14-acre campus located at 21340 State Hwy 6 in Manvel. City Council is considering an amendment to a previously authorized Special Use Permit (SUP) that would allow the company a waiver of a façade requirement that provides for masonry or stucco coverage on the front and fifty percent of each side with no requirement on the rear. The so called “Overlay District” that encompasses the area along Hwy 6 typically mandates a masonry or stucco façade on all four sides of a structure. E-Z Line has returned to council desiring the removal of that amended condition. Another change to the SUP as requested by E-Z Line is for the construction of a guard shack at the plant’s main entrance. Manvel’s Planning, Development, & Zoning Commission (PD&Z) recommended council deny the façade waiver request and accept the proposal for the guard shack construction.
Mayor Delores Martin commended PD&Z on their thoughtful deliberation on the request, crediting the group with considering the Comprehensive Plan and how hard we worked to “get the Overlay District in place to make sure that we are proud of the way our city looks.” The mayor did express concern with the request saying the “building in back looks wonderful and the building that’s up front, that I can throw a rock at, is not as pleasing.” She referenced the expected expansion of the Shu-Chem plant, which was recently acquired by a German company, just east on SH 6 that could use the precedent established with E-Z Line to expect similar relaxation of the ordinance. “I don’t think this is the message the city wants to send out to its residents. We want a city that we can be proud of.” Member Melody Hanson took issue with a precedent being established in saying an SUP grants council the opportunity to consider each request on an individual basis. Mayor Martin responded that human nature will drive future requesters to expect similar consideration.
The contractor for E-Z Line explained the plan for a 42 inch stone façade topped by stucco. He described drawbacks to the planned stucco as not holding up well in an industrial setting as it tends to discolor and demands maintenance above a typical installation. He defended the request of a complete waiver in reminding council that a special siding was installed that he says looks better without the stucco. He went on to say that the sign and landscaping that will be installed will make the new building “look great and it will stay that way forever.” He claims the money is not the issue, saying the people who own it like just the 42 inch stone façade along with the steel siding.
The decision was tabled by council, which requested the contractor return to the next meeting with alternate options for council to consider.
E-Z Line designs, produces, and builds products and structural steel fabrication that is supplied to all major Oil & Gas companies from its Manvel location with 155 full-time employees. The E-Z Line campus includes structures dedicated to catalog products, pipe support and pipe lining facilities, structural steel fabrication, and shipping. Also located on the property is over 100,000 square feet of outdoor storage space used for raw materials and completed product stock. E-Z Line serves the petro-chemical, pipeline, and construction industries with various pipe support clamps and bases along with a wide variety of structural steel products including platforms, stair assemblies, ladders, handrails, and structural steel pipe racks. The company website boasts “if it’s made from steel, we can design and fabricate it.” The company enjoys a copyrighted design on their pipe support products that allow for an adjustment of some 2 inches in either an up or down direction. Adjustable pipe capabilities are highly valued in the industry because it allows for smoother installation as they provide adaption capability to existing foundation and elevation errors. Pipe line maintenance and inspections for corrosion and abrasion are far more easily facilitated with the greater accessibility the adjustable supports provide.
The company also leads the industry in its pipe lining products and Teflon slide plates. Their thermal plastic liner is designed for minimum contact with a pipe’s surface; the benefit being an ability to adapt to thermal expansion, and a liberal circulation of air around the pipe which enables the drying of any collected moisture and condensation. Teflon slide plates help to minimize vibration. Both products minimize any compromise to a pipes integrity decreasing the likelihood of leakage, reducing maintenance efforts, and minimizing potential environmental impact. The pipe liners provide great compressive strength designed to withstand a 10,000 pound load and are able to withstand extreme temperatures from -100 degrees to 480 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to standard size offerings of supports and liners, custom assemblies can be produced by E-Z Line as they work closely with customers to develop adapted design standards for precise applications for existing pipelines and retrofit supports.
From raw materials off-loaded and processed, E-Z Line products are then cut, bent, burned, and shaped as necessary. After a thorough clean-up and quality control inspection process, completed pieces are loaded on trucks for shipping to a galvanizing plant in north Houston. Galvanizing prevents rust and helps ensure quality and longevity in the field. The galvanized products are then returned to Manvel where they are processed for distribution.