Friday, May 6, 2016

The exterior of Benteler Automotive in Goshen as seen Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. A temporary storage structure at the site will be allowed to remain until the end of 2014. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard, File) (AP)
Benteler Automotive storage facility approved on second attempt

Posted on Jan. 28, 2014 at 10:19 p.m.

GOSHEN — Benteler Automotive will be able to keep a temporary storage structure on its property until the end of the year.

The Board of Zoning Appeals made the decision to grant a variance to the company at itsTuesday, Jan. 28 meeting.

Benteler first made the request in November after it was discovered that the company had violated city ordinance by constructing the building for temporary storage of finished products. The structure had been put up as a temporary storage solution until a more permanent one could be identified.

The request was initially denied but the board agreed to rehear the request after learning in December of a possible conflict of interest during the vote.

Plant manager Doug Manix said Benteler originally determined the 80,000 square foot structure would not require a variance after conversations with city officials.

"We described what we wanted to do and the response we received was, as long as it meets the code, you should be okay," Manix said.

Bob Gehlke, filling in for board member Kelly Huffman, who had been the subject of the potential conflict of interest, was not satisfied with Manix's explanation.

"I find it hard to believe that you talked to somebody with the city that would have said you don't need a permit to do that," Gehlke said.

Also at issue was the possibility that the outside storage, though covered, was still in violation of the Industrial Park's private covenants.

Both Mayor Allan Kauffman and David Daugherty, president of the Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of allowing the structure to remain for the rest of the year, as proposed.

They encouraged the board to weigh the errors that occurred in the process against the positive elements Benteler brings, including jobs, living wages and industrial investment.

"The fact that this actually happened without any kind of proper channels, that bothers me," board member Ardean Friesen said. "We need to have standards, but we also need an environment and a city that is open to business and is providing jobs for the citizens of Goshen and the county."

The board voted unanimously to allow the structure to remain through Dec. 31 but it must be down by Jan. 1, 2015. As part of the approval, the board required that Benteler return in November to fill the board in on their plans to dismantle the building.