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The corner of Freedom’s Way and Midland Industrial Road on Tuesday moved a step closer to having three new commercial lots.
The Triple S Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend that the Shelbyville City Council approve rezoning the three lots on 5 acres to General Commercial (C-3).
Commissioners recognized the need for additional retail space in a largely industrial area because of some changes on the horizon.
Don Prather, speaking on behalf of property owner Tom McGinnis, who could not attend the meeting, noted Midland Industrial’s impending connection with Discovery Boulevard to the west as a major change that would call for allowing a zoning change from Light Industrial.
“That connection will increase the traffic flow in the area, and also with additional industrial development, there is a need for small commercial lots in that area, and that need will only increase with the road connection,” Prather said. “The C-3 zoning we’re asking for, general commercial, is described as retail sales and businesses-oriented to vehicles and vehicular travel. We feel that a fast-food restaurant or convenience store would be a welcome addition to that area.”
A traffic study completed in conjunction with the zone change request showed that those changes would be acceptable.
“The focus of the study was on the intersection with Midland Industrial and the cul-de-sac [Legacy Drive, which would be created], and it meets the standards,” said Diane Zimmerman, of Jacobs Engineering, who conducted the study. “The study shows the intersections at an acceptable level and did not raise any concerns.”
Business plan OK
Following their approval of the change, commissioners approved a preliminary plan for the nearly 20-acre parcel. This plan included the three commercial lots – with one on the corner of Midland Industrial and Freedom’s Way, one facing Midland Industrial and one to the north facing Freedom’s Way – and four lots remaining light industrial and ranging from 2.33 acres to more than 6 acres.
The plan also included an approved waiver to allow the developers to remove sidewalks on the eastern side of the cul-de-sac, facing Freedom’s Way. The waiver was requested because it would remove sidewalks in a largely industrial area but would include them on the west side of the cul-de-sac, which would provide potential pedestrians an alternate route.
The approval, however, did not include a requested variance that would have changed the side and rear yard setbacks to 25 feet from 50 feet.
Erik Sparks, plant manager for the neighboring Bemis Company, requested that the commission not approve the setback variance because of the impact on the Bemis plant.
“Depending on the type of industry that locates there, it could cause our insurance to increase if the setback is changed from fifty feet,” he said. “If we decide to expand to our allowed setback of fifty feet and that industry is at twenty-five feet, our insurance rates could increase, or we could be required to use a more expensive building material to avoid an increase.”
Sparks also noted that his company has concerns about the added traffic that comes with commercial property, and that will come with the connection to Discovery Boulevard (and Collins High School), mixing with the truck traffic from Bemis.
“We have fully loaded eighteen-wheelers regularly trying to pull across the bypass,” he said. “Our concern is the difficulty those truck could face with the added traffic from commercial lots.”
Zimmerman said that a right-turn lane from southbound traffic on the bypass could be needed by 2015, but her study showed no immediate concerns.
Kerry Magan, the engineer on for the preliminary plat, noted that a small cemetery was left off the original map, but that had been added.
The cemetery is on the east side of the property, on a 2.33-acre, light-industrial lot.
“It has been added to the map, and a permanent easement will be included,” he said.
Being noted on the final plat will provide the cemetery with the protection it is accorded, which means an easement must be made for access at all times.
There is some confusion about the owner of the cemetery property. Linda Clemmons of the Cemetery Preservation Board showed the commission a letter from the 1800s that claimed the cemetery was owned by the Tevis family. But deeds dating back into the early 1930s make no mention of the cemetery being owned by someone other than the purchaser of the property.