MILFORD — Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission has requested input from individual members of the Milford Town Council and Milford Economic Redevelopment Commission regarding a proposed concrete mixing plant on SR 15 north of the town. Milford Town Council President Doug Ruch serves on all three bodies and expressed concerns about the project at recent public meetings of both the town council and redevelopment commission.
According to Matt Sandy, assistant planner and flood administrator with the county planning commission, who was present at the Jan. 9 meeting of Milford Town Council, the property, owned by John Ward and formerly a hog enclosure, would require a zoning transition from agricultural to heavy industry, or I-3. The plant, said Sandy, would be “right on Milford’s doorstep,” beside the overpass at CR 1350N. The APC is expected to rule on the rezoning at its Feb. 5 meeting.
Responding to Town Clerk Tricia Gall’s query as to why the council should get a say in the matter when it is not within the town limits, Sandy said of the APC, “We never want to be exclusive … you’re the most impacted; this could be your baby sometime in the future.”
Speaking at the council meeting and the redevelopment commission meeting Jan. 13, Ruch listed his concerns. First, the property’s location on the SR 15 corridor could require buffer zones, which will drastically reduce the available acreage, down to around three-quarters of an acre out of the 6.8 the property encompasses.
Sandy agreed. “You have to ask yourself, ‘does it fit?’ It’s going to be real tight.”
Also, according to Ruch, the owners did not seek proper permitting when the project was begun, and proceeded to fill in part of a wetland without permission.
There are also worries about the traffic on SR 15, where concrete trucks would be entering and exiting at the bottom of an overpass already fraught with visibility issues. Van Buren Township Trustee Rebecca Alles also expressed concern about truck traffic making the area more dangerous for drivers.
Redevelopment Commission President Dan Brown, owner of Phend and Brown Inc., declined to comment on the matter, citing his business relationship with a competing concrete mixing plant.
Some members of both the Milford Town Council and Redevelopment Commission will submit their opinions to the APC prior to its Feb. 5 meeting.