The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 1:00 am

ACRES seeks use of barn for events


Officials from ACRES Land Trust have asked the Allen County Board of Zoning Appeals to use a barn on its property at 1992 Chapman Road for a small number of events and meetings.

The nonprofit acquires and manages environmentally sensitive land in preserves throughout northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan. ACRES' headquarters and office are at 1802 Chapman Road in Perry Township, south of the property with the barn.

The barn sits on 44 acres zoned agricultural-estates on the south side of Chapman between Coldwater and Griffin roads.

The 1,728-square-foot structure is guarded by a gated entrance separate from that of the headquarters and a gravel and grassy area for parking.

“We would like to host events one to five times per year, totaling 50 to 100 people utilizing the barn as the meeting location for ... light music, food and beverages, and then break off into hikes through our surrounding trail systems,” ACRES officials said in the application for a special use.

The application says events would last two to four hours and have only acoustic music. The site has no running water, but a site plan shows an outdoor seasonal bathroom.

The proposed parking area does not meet ordinance standards, but ACRES is seeking a variance to allow it. Department of Planning Services staff members recommend only ACRES-sponsored events be allowed as a condition of approval.

The proposal will have a public hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Room 30 at Citizens Square. 

Other public hearings Wednesday include:

• A proposal to allow Pine Valley Armory and Pine Valley Munitions to operate as special uses from a detached garage and separate pole barn at 8309 Popp Road in Cedar Creek Township.

The site is in a residential area southwest of Leo-Cedarville zoned for agriculture. 

Owner and applicant David W. Vincent said gunpowder and propellants would be stored and/or used on-site but no more than five to 10 pounds at a time. “This is not a shooting range,” he said in his application. “There will be no firing or testing of any munitions or armament made at the site.”

Business activities will take place inside buildings on a large lot, the application states. There will be no signage or exterior lighting, and customers will come only by appointment, according to the application.

Similar arms-related businesses have been approved with conditions in Allen County in recent years, but one in Fort Wayne was denied when neighbors objected.

• A proposal for an embroidery business, including the sale of decorated retail apparel, as a special use at 15214 Tonkel Road in Cedar Creek Township.

The use is proposed by Casey Johnson and property owners Jerry and Margaret Baker on a property with a commercial building that dates to the 1920s and has had various special uses.

The property has a parking lot that extends into the right-of-way and other conditions that do not meet zoning law. Some are to be remedied as recommended conditions of approval, planning staff members said in a report presented to zoning board members.

• A proposal to establish a composting area at 11255 Anthony Blvd. Extended in Marion Township. The applicants, Steven and Dawn Crosby, operate a concrete-crushing operation there. They propose to compost only wood debris, leaves, paper fiber and grass.

“There is no zoning category in Fort Wayne/Allen County that applies for ... compost,” applicants said.

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