May 25—GOSHEN — A planned expansion of the Miller Poultry operation on the city's south side was allowed to move forward Tuesday during a meeting of the Goshen Board of Zoning Appeals.
At the meeting, board members approved a request by Pine Manor Inc./Miller Poultry, Abonmarche Consultants Inc. and DJ Construction for a use variance needed in order to allow the continued expansion of a nonconforming use, expanding a hatchery in a B-1 District with up to 36,230 square feet of additional building space in four phases with additional parking and maneuvering areas and up to 25 employees, and to allow the variance to be valid until April 6, 2027.
According to Rossa Deegan, assistant planning and zoning administrator for the city, the subject property has operated as a poultry/hatchery business at 2704 S. Main St. since 1947.
"The property is zoned Commercial B-1 and is surrounded by residential uses and zoning to the north and west, a city bike path and railroad to the east, and commercial businesses and Bethany Christian School to the south," Deegan told the board. "Improvements on the property include a primary hatchery facility and a detached structure with a footprint totaling approximately 52,000 square feet, paved parking and maneuvering aisles with access from Main Street, and open loading docks at the south end of the main building.
"Much of the property is open lawn space along the east and north sides," he added. "The owners of the property also own three parcels — 2706, 2708 and 2712 S. Main St. — to the west of the facility which are not part of the hatchery use. These properties are similarly zoned B-1 and include two residences."
Deegan noted that hatcheries are classified under "Poultry Dressing, Packing and Processing," and are allowed as conditional uses in the Industrial M-1 and M-2 Districts only. They are not permitted in commercial districts, such as the one covering 2704 S. Main St., so any expansion of the business at its currently location is considered expansion of nonconforming use, requiring a use variance.
As part of Tuesday's approval, the board's members also agreed to grant the petitioners relief from landscaping standards that require partial landscaping along the north and west property lines adjacent to residential uses.
The requested use variance was approved unanimously.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER SALES
Also Tuesday, the board's members approved a request by Elkhart Township of Elkhart County and Michael Bontrager for a use variance needed in order to convert the former Elkhart Township Fire Station at 116 S. Greene Road into a new fire extinguisher sales and service business.
With its approval, the use variance will allow electrical and plumbing retail sales at the site, all uses permitted in the Commercial B-1 District, and parking and storage of two vehicles in excess of one-ton capacity.
In addition, a developmental variance was approved to allow a freestanding sign 4 feet in height and 12 square feet in area where only ground signs are permitted.
"The subject property is located on the southeast corner of the intersection of Greene Road and Lincoln Avenue and is zoned Residential R-1," Deegan told the board. "Surrounding properties include a mix of zoning and uses: single family residential neighborhoods are located to the north and east, a commercial veterinarian supply is located to the south, institutional uses including a large community park, church, and elementary school are located in the vicinity to the south and southeast, and commercial businesses in the B-1 District are directly to the east."
Deegan noted that the property includes two driving aisles and a 1,480-square-foot building which appears to have been built in 1992. The property is the site of the former Elkhart Township Fire Station, which was recently decommissioned in preparation for the township's fire duties being turned over to the city of Goshen.
The requested variances were approved unanimously.
John Kline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-533-2151, ext. 240315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.