GOSHEN — The Elkhart County commissioners have cleared the way for a New Paris cabinet making company to expand with a larger campus in a new location.
Smart Cabinetry earned the commissioners’ support Tuesday, Sept. 3, with a zoning change that would allow the company to relocate its operations from northern New Paris to the south part of town. The county plan commission unanimously recommended approval of the plan in August.
“We need room,” said Blake Doriot, the company’s consultant from B. Doriot and Associates. “We tried to expand at this site, and it couldn’t be done. Currently, we have 120,000 square feet, a four-bay loading dock, and we have limited access within the site and poor access to S.R. 15 along with limited parking.”
The new location on the northeast corner of C.R. 23 and C.R. 50 would allow Smart Cabinetry to expand its building to 200,000 square feet with a dozen loading docks. The property is surrounded by agricultural land, manufacturing facilities and a few homes. Only one neighboring property owner spoke at Tuesday’s hearing.
“I’m generally opposed to it certainly because it’s going to entirely change the dynamic of my home,” said Michael Harris, who lives to the north of Smart Cabinetry’s property. “We’ve had family on the property for over 100 years. I’ve been on the property for the past 34 years.”
Harris told the commissioners that the company’s new facility would block his rural view, adding that he worries about noise coming from trucks and a dust collector on the north side of the property.
Terry Sauer, safety manager for Smart Cabinetry, said the company has offered to buffer the property line with trees. He said noise would be minimized by concentrating truck traffic on the south side of the property, also noting that noise from the dust collector measured at 35 decibels.
“Your vacuum sweeper in your house is louder than that,” Sauer said.
Doriot told the commissioners that Smart Cabinetry has 150 employees, 20 of whom were hired this year. The average pay is $26 per hour, and the company expects to end this year with gross payroll totaling $7 million, he said. In 2012, the payroll added up to $5.2 million, Doriot said. The company plans to hire 55 more employees over the next three to five years with average hourly pay ranging between $26 and $30.