GOSHEN — A plastics extrusion company that plans to build a 111,000-square-foot plant northeast of Bristol is facing opposition from potential neighbors who are concerned about an increase in truck traffic near their homes.
Reschor Inc. has found a new home off of C.R. 29 bordered by the Indiana Toll Road to the north and railroad tracks to the south, but before construction can begin, the company needs to get the land rezoned. The Elkhart County Plan Commission held a public hearing Thursday, Nov. 14, and voted to recommend approval of the rezoning despite hearing from a group of homeowners who were against it.
Reschcor plans to hire up to 60 production workers and 20 office personnel, according to surveyor Chris Marbach. The company had applied for a property tax phase-in from the county in July, pledging to invest $3.1 million in real estate, $3.5 million in new machinery and $153,500 in new information technology equipment if approved by the Elkhart County Council. Reschcor withdrew its application in August.
Colten Yoder, who lives south of the property that Reschcor is eyeing, handed over a petition to the plan commission with 31 signatures, asking to deny the rezoning. Among Yoder's concerns were excessive truck traffic, potential road improvements to accommodate semi trucks, water and air contamination, noise, bright lights and safety near railroad tracks.
Speaking to the concern about increased traffic, Marbach said Reschcor expects to have one semitrailer entering the property with four outbound semitrailers leaving each day. He said that the section of C.R. 29 near the proposed Reschcor site had an average of 73 vehicles per day in 2012. Eleven of those vehicles, he said, were trucks. Marbach said the company is willing to work with the town to limit semitrailer traffic on C.R. 29.
Geff Fisher, who also lives south of the property, showed photos of the area to plan commission members.
“The purpose of these is to give you a visual,” he said, holding up a photo of farmland. “It doesn't feel at all like you're near a town or city limits.”
Town manager Bill Wuthrich told the plan commission that Bristol plans to annex the property, which covers about 33 acres, into the town and hook the company up with municipal sewer and water services. There are also plans to extend Commerce Drive east to connect to C.R. 29, Wuthrich said.
Chris Perry, a nearby homeowner, questioned why Reschcor had decided on a site near C.R. 29. She said there are several empty buildings in industrial parks near Bristol that need tenants.
“Progress needs to happen, and it's got to be there, but is a total of 80 workers worth it,” she asked. “Wouldn't it to be cheaper to build where there is already roads, water and sewer available? I mean, think about it.”
Alan Machin, who has been hunting in the area for the past 30 years, said he worries that wildlife that crosses the property, which includes farmland and a wooded area, would be forced to find a new path.
“We should not have construction of this plastic factory because the deer cross in the evening all year long, and they're not here to speak for themselves, but once this takes place, they're going to have to go someplace else, and unfortunately there's no detection equipment on the toll road for animals that are on the highway, and it's going to create a serious problem for the people that manage the toll road,” Machin said.
Marbach has the company plans to preserve as much of the woods on the northern side of the property as possible.
If the annexation process begins soon, the Bristol Town Council will have the final vote on Reschcor's rezoning request. If annexation does not happen, the final decision will be up to the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners.
A map below shows where Reschcor Inc. wants to put its new plant: