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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:16 pm

Planners block industry north of Winters

Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

In a 8-0 vote Thursday, the Allen County Plan Commission approved changes to the Plan It Allen comprehensive plan, disallowing industrial use of land north of Winters Road near the General Motors plant.

The plan is no different from when it was proposed in December. The amendment was put on hold after a Dec. 8 public hearing, during which Crown Enterprises opposed the measure. The Warren, Michigan, company made a failed proposal to build a truck hub on Winters Road.

During the public hearing, Crown Enterprises, joined by a representative of the Urban Land Institute, argued that BTI (business, technology and industrial) was the best zoning to provide a buffer between the GM property and other land uses nearby. 

The comprehensive plan offers policy guidance to an array of county departments, boards and commissions and affects how development plans and rezoning efforts are handled, said Robert Eherenman, the plan commission’s legal counsel.

Under the amendment, only agricultural and residential development will be encouraged north of the GM facility, with the exception of a small plot on the west side of the I-69/Lower Huntington Road interchange, which has commercial zoning. The proposal will go before the Allen County commissioners for final approval.

Although he voted in favor of the amendment, plan commission member David Bailey said he wasn’t convinced it makes sense to disallow industrial uses from that area. He asked the county commissioners to consider changing it to permit industrial use when that body takes up the measure. 

"If this change goes through, it doesn’t mean that we couldn’t rezone that property a different way later. I think it’s also true that what’s in the plan should and does at least have some impact on the rezoning process," Bailey said. "I’m inclined to vote for this plan because a lot of thought and consideration went into it and I think it needs to get in front of the body that can make the final decision." 

In January 2016, County Commissioners Therese Brown and Nelson Peters voted against the rezoning that would have allowed Crown Enterprises to build the truck hub. 

County surveyor Jeff Sorg abstained from the vote because he was not on the commission in December.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved plans for the Dupont Corners shopping center and the Acacia Creek residential development.