Kosciusko County Commissioners held a special meeting today to consider rezoning land in Milford from agricultural to I-3.
Commissioners are the final authority on the matter and considered the rezoning at the special meeting.
On Dec. 5, Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval to rezone the 270-acre tract of ground from agricultural to I-3, the heaviest industrial use allowed by county ordinance.
The property is south of CR 1400 North, east of Old SR 15 and west of CR 100 East in Van Buren Township. TruPointe Cooperative Inc., based in Piqua, Ohio, is seeking the rezoning in order to build a state-of-the-art agricultural facility.
Several people spoke in favor of the rezoning. Dan Brown of Milford Redevelopment Commission said he and the rest of the board have been working on the proposal for several years. He said a TIF district has been approved with the goal of having industrial development on the north side of Milford. The county’s redevelopment commission and Milford’s Redevelopment Commission have been working on the project together.
“It will provide a big opportunity for full-time employment, which is needed,” said Brown.
Doug Ruch, a member of Milford Town Council, also spoke in favor of the rezoning. “We welcome it, because it will provide jobs,” said Ruch.
Ruch said a question and answer session was held at Milford Town Council Monday night for residents to address concerns.
George Robertson of Kosciusko Economic Development Corp. also spoke in favor of the project. Robertson noted the company has a positive reputation in its industry. He said the company will create 70 news jobs with above average wages.
“These are good-paying jobs,” Robertson stressed.
Several people voiced opposition to the rezoning. One lady who lives on CR 100 said she is concerned with property values and the traffic the project will create.
Tina Fraley, who also lives on CR 100, said she shares the same concerns. “Our property values will go down,” she said.
Commissioner Ron Truex acknowledged that changes in traffic patterns on CR 100 East will be a huge change.
Bob Bowerman stressed that he is not in opposition to the project but concerned with traffic on CR 1300 North. He is a grain purchaser with Maple Leaf Farms, which has a facility on that road.
Dan Richard, director of APC, stated that the company has to submit a site plan. He said the company must comply with the proper criteria and all county ordinances before the project moves forward.
“The ordinances are pretty clear and they must comply,” said Richard, including any setbacks.
Commission Bob Conley said the company wants to be “a good neighbor.” The company has committed to setting up buffers, especially since there will be outside storage, which is the reason for the I-3 rezoning.
In other related matters, commissioners approved a contract with USI Consulting, Indianapolis, for an estimated cost of $50,000 to survey CR 100E and CR 1300N in Milford. An overpass is expected to be built in the area and changes to Milford’s Main Street are also planned.
Commissioners stated that the overpass and road plans will not take place until money is available. Once the Justice Building in Warsaw is paid off, then E.D.I.T. money will be re-directed to the Milford’s new project, said Truex.
The next regular meeting will be at 9 a.m. Dec. 18.