The Allen County Commissioners denied plans Friday for a three-building industrial development on about 77 acres east of Interstate 69.
Silverado Properties LLC submitted a primary development plan for three buildings, each less than 50 feet tall and 150,000 square feet, along with a request to rezone the agricultural area to general industrial. Each building would have been able to expand up to 75,000 square feet.
Neighboring residents opposed the request at an Allen County Plan Commission meeting in September. The neighbors said approving the plans would go against southwest Allen County's 2016 comprehensive plan.
That plan specifies that commercial development in the area would not be encouraged. The plan commission members were split on whether that included industrial development, so the matter was presented to the county commissioners Friday with no recommendation.
“I can't, in my time, remember having a no recommendation,” Commissioner Therese Brown said.
“It's definitely a rarity,” said Michelle Wood, senior planner with the Department of Planning Services.
Wood said in her presentation that traffic would come from the south on Feighner Road because the road needs improvements going north from the site. She didn't give a recommendation on the site, but she shared her opinion in another capacity.
“As a planner, when I read it, I see commercial as a commercial district, not an industrial district,” she said.
Commissioner Nelson Peters, who also sits on the Allen County Plan Commission, said he remembers having conversations about not permitting industrial or commercial use east of I-69 and keeping all industrial use west of the interstate, which is where GM is located.
He added that he doesn't know why.
“Obviously, that's not what hit the paper when all was written and all was said and done, but that was part of the discussion at the time,” Peters said.
The next comprehensive plan is underway, but Peters said it isn't done yet, so it couldn't provide the commissioners direction on the proposed Silverado Properties project.
Commissioner Rich Beck said he thinks the plan, as written, causes confusion for most people.
“That's unfortunate,” Beck said. “Hopefully, going forward, I think we've learned a lesson on delineating specifically the definition of those two.”