Commissioners vote down plans for truck hub

Allen County Commissioners on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, voted on the much-maligned truck and rail hub planned for just north of the General Motors plant in Lafayette Township.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A much-maligned truck and rail hub will not rise just north of the General Motors plant in Lafayette Township.

The Allen County Commissioners on Friday denied a rezone of 87 acres off of Winters Road in the county’s southwest corner to allow for a 776,500-square-foot warehouse to be built. Crown Enterprises planned to build a large distribution center that could park around 280 trailers.

The Commissioners met individually with both the residents in southwest Allen County and officials from Crown Enterprises over the last few months before making the final decision.

“It’s a very fact based decision more so than an emotional decision,” said Commissioner Therese Brown. “I don’t think this is one of those situations where it isn’t a detriment to the area to not have it in this particular location. But we have a responsibility as elected officials to listen to all sides and weigh them. I think that’s what happened today. We struck a balance with our decision.”

Several interested people gathered in Citizens Square for the meeting of the Allen County Commissioners on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.
Several interested people gathered in Citizens Square for the meeting of the Allen County Commissioners on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.

The Allen County Plan Commission approved the rezone in early November, which sent it to the commissioners for a final vote. When the commissioners voted to deny the rezoning request needed to build the truck hub, the people in the crowd let out a sigh of relief followed by a round of applause.

“This meeting doesn’t typically see applause,” said Stephanie Schultz, who led the opposition for building the truck hub. “But for 6 months people have been very excited and very invested in making sure the commissioners understood how important this was to us. So it’s very emotional. I saw some tears too.”

For months, the proposed truck hub development has drawn the ire of neighbors, who have argued in multiple meetings that such a facility would create truck traffic, and safety would be compromised.

Officials with Crown, though, have said the facility would bring new jobs to the area, and said they are working to control the truck traffic flow through the residential area and off of the GM plant exit.

“We said in the beginning we are not anti-business and we are not anti-GM,” said Schultz. “We just think there are more appropriate places for this to be. The Stonebridge Industrial Park, which they’ve just voted to expand, is a perfect location for this and we hope that’s where this ends up going. We want to see GM have what they need.”

Friday’s vote is the second such from the commissioners, who in 2001 denied a proposal that had been approved by the plan commission that would have allowed Crown to build a 318,500-square-foot hub on the same site.

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