GOSHEN — A rural wood recycling business in Goshen that wants to relocate gained the support of the Elkhart County Plan Commission on Thursday despite facing opposition from a couple of potential neighbors.
Landowners near C.R. 17 and C.R. 38, where Martin Animal Bedding hopes to move, spoke out against the business’s relocation, worrying that their property values could be negatively affected. But Brads-Ko Engineering and Surveying Barry Pharis, who represents business owner Kevin Martin, said the impact on the area would be minimal.
“I think if we looked for another location in Elkhart County that would be superior, we could not find it,” Pharis told plan commission members.
Martin Animal Bedding, 21918 S.R. 119, wants to move less than two miles away to 65448 C.R. 17. Martin is seeking to rezone the property from agricultural to a detailed planned unit development.
A year ago, the Elkhart County Board of Zoning Appeals blocked Martin’s request to renew a special use permit for the S.R. 119 location, citing issues with dust, truck traffic and noise. The request came back to the county recently after a court decision this summer to stay the zoning decision pending further judicial review, allowing Martin’s business to temporarily continue operation at its current location.
Martin has proposed moving his business to a property owned by his father on the east side of C.R. 17. Pharis said Martin wants to construct a larger building that would allow trucks to load and unload materials indoors. This measure would ease concerns about dust and noise, Pharis said.
Pharis noted that the property on C.R. 17 is 13 to 20 feet lower than the road. Further, he said, tall trees on the east and south sides of the land would act as a buffer against any dust that escapes. The closest homes to Martin’s property, Pharis added, are 1,900 feet away.
Kenlyn Haack, who sold the property on C.R. 17 to the Martin family, told the plan commission that a wood recycling business is not appropriate for the area. She said it should be an industrial setting.
In his most recent request, Martin has agreed to relocate the business’s C.R. 17 entrance if the road is extended past C.R. 38. The new entrance would be a paved driveway off of C.R. 38, Pharis said.
The Elkhart County Board of Commissioners is expected to cast a final vote on Martin’s request in November.