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Franklin County Commissioners Approve Zone Change Over Neighbors’ Objections

Posted On July 24, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

(Franklin County, Ind.) – Franklin County could soon be landing one of its largest economic development wins in years.

But the prospect has some residents concerned about their property values.

Franklin County Commissioners voted 2-0 to approve a rezone of an 86-acre parcel along State Road 1 near Southgate on Tuesday, July 18, The Franklin County Observer newsletter reports. The rezone will change the property from Agricultural A-2 to Open Industrial I-2. Commissioners Tom Wilson and Tom Linkel voted for it, while third commissioner Eric Roberts was not present.

The zone change request was made by the Franklin County Economic Development Commission and the property’s current owner, former Indiana state representative Bob Bischoff.

The Observer reports that officials say the company that could be locating in Southgate is a construction services business already located in the county. The new location could employ about 40 people with a wage of $15 to $20 per hour.

Commissioners learned the name of the company during a closed-door executive session with the FCEDC briefly before the public discussion and vote. That information has not been shared publicly, but commissioner Tom Wilson said the business is not a slaughterhouse, chemical plant, or landfill.

Several neighbors of the proposed site attended the commissioners’ meeting to air their concerns with the project.

“This piece of property is not in my backyard. It’s in my front yard. It’s in my parent’s front yard. It’s in my son’s front yard, my grandchildren’s front yard. It’s in my aunt’s front yard, my cousin’s front yard,” Randall Holman said, according to The Observer.

The commissioners’ vote was counter to the unfavorable recommendation that the Franklin County Area Planning Commission had given to the request. After hearing neighbors’ concerns the previous week, APC members cited a lack of information about the project as the reason for their recommendation to commissioners.