ELKHART — The Elkhart City Council pushed through a small rezoning request that is a key part of the emerging Shoppes on Six retail development on the city’s north side.
On Monday night, April 21, the council voted to rezone 7.4 acres of land just east of Wings Etc., along C.R. 6.
The council also took the rare step of providing all necessary votes for approval on Monday that normally occur over the course of two meetings.
The land is a narrow strip of property that includes a Goodyear service store on C.R. 6.
The property will be part of the second phase of Shoppes on Six, a large retail development by Thompson Thrift, of Carmel, Ind.
Phase No. 1 of the development encompasses the southwest corner of C.R. 6 and Cassopolis Street and includes a Verizon Wireless store, which has been open for about two years.
The council agreed to rezone the land from an outdated planned unit development use to a business designation.
The second phase will include the long narrow tract rezoned Monday plus another section of property south of the first phase.
Goodyear officials learned several months ago the land the company leases had been sold. The southern half of the property is a vacant lot.
Martin Rzepka, general manger at the Goodyear store, said the company has about five months to move. He said the store is currently looking for a new location.
Goodyear has leased the property for roughly four and six years, he said.
Don Potter, vice president of project management for Thompson Thrift, said the company had acquired the property earlier this year and that a quick rezoning was needed under terms of a contract involving one of the future tenants of the development.
The plan commission recommended the rezoning with a 7-0 vote on April 7.
Potter said they probably could have waited for final action by the council in May, but did not want to risk the slight chance of council not having enough members attend to take a vote.
Mayor Dick Moore asked the council in a letter to take the needed votes on Monday.
The approval was granted with a 9-0 vote, but not before council member David Henke questioned why the council had to rush to take action.
Henke noted that the plans for development have taken longer than expected and required an extension of time by the city.
He said he thought the request “was a little bit pushy.”
Among the stores lined up for the shopping center are Shoe Carnival, PetSmart and Ross Dress For Less.
The first phase will include a Dunkin Donuts. Construction on that portion is well underway.