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A Temporary Ban On New Industrial Projects Could Be Headed For Southeast Fort Worth

One of the nation’s hottest industrial markets could put a temporary halt on new development.

Fort Worth City Council will consider a moratorium on zoning changes that would allow for new industrial projects in the Echo Heights area at an Aug. 8 meeting, according to the Fort Worth Report. The move comes as residents in the majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood claim industrial facilities built too close to homes pose safety, health and environmental risks.

“We do need this to stop — a pause,” Patrina Newton, a retired city staffer and Southeast Fort Worth resident, said during a July 25 community meeting. “We need to be able to regroup, preferably with the city. There needs to be a dialogue, there needs to be education in the community about processes. This is real — folks are suffering."


Southeast Fort Worth, which includes Echo Heights and other minority neighborhoods, is home to more than 180 industrial facilities, including trucking centers, garbage collection sites and warehouses. It is classified as an industrial growth center in the city’s comprehensive plan, per the Fort Worth Report.

Adoption of the 2023 comprehensive plan was delayed in March after Echo Heights neighbors urged the city to reconsider allowing new projects in the area. Residents told the Fort Worth Report they have noticed an uptick in illnesses, inexplicable miscarriages and other negative health outcomes. 

Safety is also a concern, with residents pointing to several scenarios that could prove deadly if something went awry.

“If you have an explosion, there’s going to be some people who are going to die,” Newton said of a fueling station located next to a home for senior citizens. “Let’s get in front of this, let’s work with the city, let’s work through this. It needs to be a dialogue, but we need to stop the industrial from happening.” 

Minority communities on the east side of the Metroplex have voiced similar concerns about the proliferation of industrial development.

An 80-year-old shingles plant in West Dallas agreed to close last summer after a report found it was releasing harmful amounts of chemicals into the area. Residents of the predominantly Hispanic and Black neighborhood have since demanded immediate closure of the plant after learning it would take seven years to shut down.

Joppa, a historic freedmen’s town located southeast of Downtown Dallas, was found by researchers to be one of the city’s most polluted neighborhoods. The area is a hotbed for industrial plants, though local advocates have for years rallied for land use reform that would prevent future projects.

Austin Industries announced in June it would shutter its shingles plant in Joppa within 120 days. The move was heralded as a win for residents who have for years been vocal about health issues they’ve endured.

Fort Worth reduced the Echo Heights industrial area from 671 acres to 629 acres in the area’s future land use maps, but residents say the changes don’t go far enough to keep new projects away from homes.

Members of the Echo Heights Stop Six Environmental Coalition want the city to approve a moratorium that would ax industrial projects until next year, per the Fort Worth Report. They are also asking that adoption of the comprehensive plan be postponed until residents' concerns are addressed.