Allen County’s three commissioners approved a text amendment to the county zoning ordinance regarding where sexually oriented businesses could operate. They also approved several rezoning petitions.

Robert Eherenman, attorney for the Allen County Plan Commission, presented at the commissioners’ Sept. 6 meeting the changes for the zoning ordinance, which:

• Restricts such businesses in the I2 general industrial zoning district

• Keeps the current setback from a religious institution, school or R1 single-family residential district to 1,000 feet

• Clarified the definitions of bar, dance hall, entertainment facility and nightclub to clarify that they can’t include any sexually orientated business

• Used the same language that’s in the licensing ordinance

The plan commission recommended a do pass on the changes by a vote of 8-0 in August.

In June, the commissioners said that a lawsuit brought against Fort Wayne prompted the three-member board to look at the county’s zoning ordinance with regards to sexually oriented businesses. Saying their intention wasn’t to legislate morality, but rather to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the commissioners passed ordinances to ban future live sex act businesses in areas of the county it has jurisdiction over, and that adult bookstores and related businesses must have special annual licenses from the county building commissioner’s office to operate.

Making note of several remonstrances and holding discussion over the commissioners’ duties in rezoning requests, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of 49.1 acres at the southwest corner of Flutter and Young roads from A-1 agricultural to R-1 single-family residential for a 94-lot subdivision called Belmont Woods.

Michelle Wood with the Department of Planning Services, said Northeastern Development Corp. is seeking the rezoning just east of the Maplecrest Road-Interstate 469 interchange. Other similar subdivisions are nearby.

At a public hearing over a dozen people spoke with concerns over the density, the plat layout, potential flooding, loss of agricultural land, traffic, the development’s effect on school capacity and “just a general disregard for that community and how they feel that area should be developed,” Wood said.

The access would be off Flutter and subdivision would include four cul-de-sacs. It meets all ordinance requirements. The plan commission recommended a do-pass by a 5-3 vote.

Commissioner Therese Brown pointed out that the commissioners have no authority over the way the subdivision is laid out, and concerns such as school capacity and flooding will be worked out as the project progresses through engineering as part of the second level.

Commissioner Nelson Peters noted that the plat layout has gone through the plan commission and “We really don’t have any ability to approve or not approve.”

With regards to zoning, the commissioners have several criteria that a project must meet, including the current conditions, most desirable use of the land and conservation of property values.

The project meets the criteria, Wood said, because it supports adjacent growth and a mix of housing types and densities.

This is single-family mixed with agricultural area and is very comparable to other developments and stormwater will be examined as part of the process, she said.

“If the zoning is in place, or will be in place, the plat itself, if it meets the ordinance requirements, the plan commission is bound to approve that,” Wood said. However, other agencies review for the other issues such as stormwater and school capacity.

Commissioner Rich Beck said he did further research and had attended a land-use summit created by the Indiana Land Resource Council where “heavy discussion was about the balancing act we have between economic development and preservation of farmland, (a) very delicate balancing act we have to perform.”

In the end, the project meets all requirements, he said before the three voted to approve the rezoning.

• Unanimously approved rezoning 14.7 acres on the south side of the 2400-2600 blocks of West Till Road from agricultural to I-2, general industrial, for office headquarters and other structures for equipment storage and rezoning 16.8 acres from agricultural to R-3 multiple-family residential for a 58-unit duplex. The two projects by Keller Development and Dawn Galloway are for a new headquarters for Keller and New Generation Management, the management firm for its residential properties, and a new duplex development.

It’s in a mixed-use area with agricultural and industrial land and metes-and-bounds parcels, with more retail mixed with residential as it approaches the city of Fort Wayne boundaries, Wood said. No opposition was voiced on the projects, which the plan commission recommended by 8-0 votes for do-passes.

• Voted unanimously to rezone 96.9 acres on the west side of the 100-200 blocks of North Hadley Road and the 100 block of South Hadley Road from agricultural, A-3 estates, and BTI business technology to R-1 family residential for a 115-lot subdivision called the Haven.

Northeastern Development Corp. plans to build the Haven with an access off Hadley as it runs west along the Norfolk-Southern Railroad.

“The design really was informed by the wetlands, the location of the wetlands,” Wood said.

They’re not affecting the wetlands, other than to cross for utilities, she said.

The Indiana 14 is residential, but some people voiced concerns that the area would be developed and about its effect on the wetlands wildlife habitat along with traffic. A couple of people said they bought their lots for the view of the woods that will now be developed.

• All agreed to rezone 4.6 acres on the west side of 14100-14300 blocks of Coldwater Road from agricultural to single-family residential as part of a 66-lot subdivision called Balmoral.

Northeastern Development Corp. wants to build the subdivision north of Fox Hollow and Aslan Passage and south of the developing Whisper Rock. Previously rezoned to single-family residential for Lutheran Life for a retirement development that never materialized, the site has wetlands. It will have a single entrance off Coldwater and an oversized cul-de-sac for a school bus turnaround. The request was to rezone a section on the southeast corner that got left out of all the previous developments that have been approved.

Brown noted that the area, with a stoplight at Gump and Coldwater roads, is becoming a heavy traffic area and would likely be getting attention.

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