Saturday, September 20, 2014

Petitioners argue over proposed Culver’s off Lincolnway East in Goshen

Proposal would bring a restaurant and safety benefits to Goshen shopping center.

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on May 22, 2013 at 2:45 p.m.

GOSHEN — A proposal to approve a three-lot major commercial subdivision at 2015 Lincolnway East turned out to be a prickly subject at the monthly meeting of the Goshen Plan Commission.

Culver’s, with the support of McCon Building Corp. and Maple City Chapel, requested primary approval for a subdivision that would allow Culver’s to build a restaurant on the property.

The subdivision would provide the frontage on Lincolnway East for the development of the new restaurant.

“This is something we think would be a good neighbor in our community,” said Lance Miller, who was representing Maple City Chapel. “I think it could provide some safety improvements.”

Miller explained that providing an access drive nearer to Lincolnway East and Eisenhower Drive would enhance the safety for parishioners who currently walk out the front door right onto the main thoroughfare for the strip.

The proposal ran into issues, however, with the representation for Campbell and Fetter Bank, which occupies one corner of that intersection.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Rhonda Yoder admitted that the site was “a bit complex,” noting that it was originally developed for multiple entities and with private easements.

Yoder explained that both access points to the bank were proposed to be changed by the plan, which did not sit well with Glenn Duncan, Campbell and Fetter’s representation.

As the building is proposed, the new Culver’s building would encroach upon the major access routes for Campbell and Fetter customers by cutting over those private easements.

Campbell and Fetter does not have direct access to either Lincolnway East or Eisenhower Drive and affecting their routes along the fringes of the parking lot would force customers to “jog” around the restaurant to get to the bank.

Duncan noted that the bank is not against having a restaurant as a neighbor, but asked that the commission not grant primary approval of the subdivision until plans were a bit clearer and an agreement could be worked out between the bank and the builders.

Duncan was concerned that if the proposal was given the primary approval, the finalized plans that would come before the commission might not be satisfactory to the bank. Since the secondary approval would not be accompanied by a public hearing, “What if we don’t like what they bring back?” Duncan asked.

He also added that, if need be, the bank was willing to build a case of eminent domain. If the commission were to grant the approval, Ducan said, “You force me into trying to have to stop you. That’s what I don’t want to do.”

Chris McGuire, owner of McCon Building Corp., characterized Duncan’s stance as “legalized extortion,” adding that if the building as proposed could be rotated 90 degrees and the church would be in favor of that, the issue would likely be resolved.

Duncan countered that he was simply looking out for Campbell and Fetter’s right to the use of their property and asked that the plan commission slow down their process.

“Can’t we get this worked out before you give primary approval?” Duncan asked. “Can’t we get the engineering department to say where they would approve it?”

Duncan’s wishes were granted in the end, as the commission opted to table the item for a month to let Culver’s and McCon work to cement their plans.

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