The Journal Gazette
Friday, September 06, 2019 1:00 am

Auburn panel says no truck sales

Sale of auction park unlikely

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

The Auburn Board of Zoning Appeals has denied a request to allow semi truck auctions at Auburn Auction Park, a decision that likely ends Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction's interest in buying the property at 5536 County Road 11A.

Although the 150-acre property's zoning allows auto sales throughout the year, it doesn't allow sales of semis except as a special exception, Auburn zoning officials said in documents obtained from the city's website.

Carl Miskotten and Chris Walsh, co-owners of Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction, requested an exemption to allow tractor-semitrailer sales year-round. The dollar value of the pending sales contract wasn't disclosed.

Zoning Appeals Board members voted 3-1 to deny the zoning change during a meeting Wednesday, a staff member confirmed Thursday.

Amy Schweitzer, administrator of the Department of Building, Planning and Development, said all parties had an opportunity to be heard over the course of two meetings, including a hearing last week.

“It was the process at its finest, I would say,” she said Thursday. “All the parties were civil and respectful.”

Some of the Auburn property's neighbors shared concerns about the proposal, saying they feared increased traffic and potential water contamination from spilled oil and diesel fuel. Others sent correspondence directly to the five-member board.

Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction, 3600 E. Washington Blvd., holds car auctions every Tuesday at 9 a.m. and heavy truck auctions every other Wednesday at 10 a.m. The owners' plans for Auburn Auction Park called for employing 50 full- and 150 part-time workers.

Walsh didn't return messages requesting comment about whether the sale will go forward. A stipulation in the sales contract, however, allows the purchaser to bow out of the deal if it's unable to use the property for its “contemplated use.”

The Zoning Appeals Board decision came just days after Auburn's biggest annual event, the Auburn Fall Sale at the Auburn Auction Park, attracted tens of thousands of visitors to DeKalb County over four days. The auction generated more than $16.6 million in sales from bidders from 48 states and 29 countries. 

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