HANCOCK COUNTY – All of the warehouses coming to the western part of the county means more semitractor-trailers, which is prompting proposals for places for them to park.
Plans for five lots in three areas totaling more than 600 parking spaces have recently started making their way to county officials.
CR 700W and 500N
The Hancock County Board of Zoning Appeals late last month approved a request from Kamaldeep Singh for a special exception for semitractor-trailer parking on 18.5 acres near the southeast corner of CR 500N and 700W. The site is currently a farm field with an industrial light zoning designation.
Proposed for the location are about 334 semitrailer spaces and a service building of about 6,400 square feet with three maintenance bays.
Larry Strange, deputy director of the Hancock County Area Plan Commission, gave the request a favorable recommendation. He pointed out at the zoning board meeting that while the county’s industrial light zoning district designation is intended for industrial uses contained within structures, semitractor-trailer storage is allowed as a special exception.
“The other thing that should be noted is this district should be used to support industrial retention and expansion in Hancock County,” Strange said, adding semitractor-trailer parking aligns with that intention.
Zoning board members approved the special exception 3-1 with Jason Faucett, Michael Long and Evan Matlock voting in favor and Byron Holden voting against. Renee Oldham was absent. As a condition of the approval, Singh has to commission a traffic study to help determine what kind of road improvements will be needed in the area to support the project.
Tim Allen, assisting Singh with the endeavor, told the zoning board that the project would be built in phases. He added truck drivers would not stay on the property overnight. Twenty to 30 trucks a week are anticipated at first with hopes for 100 or more a week within a couple years.
Allen also said the site may be redesigned to accommodate trucks and trailers in some areas and just trailers in others, which would affect the total amount of spaces. Electric hookups would be available in the winters and trucks wouldn’t be allowed to idle. Trailers with units for cold storage would be staged away from the lot’s perimeter to cut down on noise heard offsite.
Several residents who live near the site spoke out against the proposal at the meeting.
Traffic issues were among Sandra Hudson’s concerns.
“This will not produce a harmonious relationship to the adjacent properties, which are residences,” she said.
Connie Flanagan agreed.
“The traffic is crazy now,” she said, adding she can’t imagine how much worse it would get from more semitractor-trailers.
Joe Turner, who owns almost 60 acres of farm ground and woods behind the houses that are across CR 700W from the site, supports the proposal.
“I applaud these gentlemen for having the foresight to see what the need is in the area,” he said.
CR 700W and 300N
The Hancock County Area Plan Commission late last month narrowly voted to send a favorable recommendation to the Hancock County Board of Commissioners on rezoning 5 acres in the 2600 block of North CR 700W from a zoning designation of industrial business park to industrial general for semitractor-trailer parking. If the board of commissioners approves the rezone, it would also need a special exception from the zoning board for the parking.
The property’s dimensions are too small for development under its current zoning designation, but would be permissible following the sought-after change.
Fortville-based 5 Rivers Properties wants to buy the property from John McCarty to create about 25 parking spaces and turn the house on the land into office space.
“When we moved in, it was all farm fields around us, and very peaceful and quiet,” McCarty told the plan commission. “It no longer is. And we knew this was coming someday, we’re realists about it.”
Plan commission members voted 4-3 for the favorable recommendation, with Bill Bolander, Tyler Edon, Bill Spalding and Renee Oldham in favor and Wendell Hester, Michael Long and Byron Holden against.
Mike Dale, executive director of the plan commission, gave the proposal an unfavorable recommendation. Rezoning the site to industrial general, he said, isn’t consistent with industrial business park uses outlined in the county’s comprehensive plan that promote light industrial activities enclosed in buildings.
Briane House, a partner with Pritzke & Davis, a Greenfield-based law firm, representing McCarty, noted that also filed with the county’s planning department is an application to rezone four properties to the north of McCarty’s totaling 27 acres from industrial business park to industrial general. McCarty said two of those properties have buyers interested for semitractor-trailer parking purposes. A site plan he filed with the county depicts a total of 276 parking spaces. The plan commission will consider that application at a future meeting.
“One of the things that the county faces … is with the advancement of the development we have, there is a need for additional truck parking,” House said.
Mt. Comfort Road and CR 500N
The county plan commission unanimously gave an unfavorable recommendation to the board of commissioners on rezoning a little over 5 acres at the southeast corner of Mt. Comfort Road and CR 500N from a zoning designation of institutional to industrial light. McCordsville-based BDO LLC wants to create a to-be-determined amount of semitrailer parking spaces there on a short-term basis before developing a gas station, restaurant or other type of commercial building as demand permits.
BDO would use the house on the property as an office. The house is protected by a historical designation; officials had to alter initial plans to tear it down for a traffic circle coming to the nearby intersection.
Dale recommended against BDO’s semitrailer parking lot as well, noting that the county’s comprehensive plan identifies the location for mixed-use developments, which include high-density residential, commercial and some light industrial. He added that a Mt. Comfort Corridor plan supported by the county and towns along the corridor also seeks similar uses for the location.
Silvia Miller, a lawyer representing BDO, countered that while the proposal may not align with the plans, it does follow what’s happening in the area and is a logical extension of that growth.
If the county board of commissioners approves the rezone, a special exception for the parking would be needed from the zoning board as well.