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Business expansions approved by plan commission


Several businesses are expanding or rebuilding in LaGrange County, and received site plan approval Tuesday evening from the LaGrange County Plan Commission.

RV manufacturer Crossroads RV in Topeka was approved for a new manufacturing facility at their Topeka location. The new facility will be adjacent to existing manufacturing plants and will be 93,000 square feet. A groundbreaking for the new building was held Thursday morning.

KM Finishing at 2490 S 1100W, Topeka, is expanding their furniture production finishing shop with a 6,400 square foot addition. The company has been in business for 12 years and operating at that location since 2003.

Two businesses that had facilities destroyed by fires are rebuilding following approval of their site plans.

Truman Mullet will be rebuilding his wood briquette business at a new location at 3600 N SR 5, Shipshewana. His site plan was approved pending INDOT approval on the driveways.

Hippenhammer Collision Center on CR 150N near LaGrange, is rebuilding their auto body collision and repair shop after a fire destroyed the original shop. The new shop approved in the site plan will be larger than the one lost, and will include a new office area, which had been housed in an adjacent outbuilding.

The plan commission also approved a single Animal Feeding Operation for Daniel and Nettie Schrock at 4060 E 300S, LaGrange. The approval was for a 40x60 foot barn for dairy heifer calves.

The plan commission postponed action on a site plan for a soft pretzel bakery in Shipshewana. Ben Miller had submitted a site plan for a store at the corner of SR 5 and Berkshire Dr. The commission raised questions on signage and possible mixed-use issues stemming from a section of the building that could be rented out for groups. Miller said he is looking for the store to be the “flagship” store for future franchises.

In other business:

Planning Administrator Bob Shanahan told the commission that he is looking at getting the county BZA and plan commission meetings swapped to help speed up the approval process for projects. Currently, some site plans are approved pending BZA variance approval after the plan commission meets. The new schedule would allow projects to seek the variance approval prior to site plan approval by the plan commission, reducing the process by up to two months. Shanahan said the new schedule could take affect within three months.

Shanahan reported that the year-to-date revenue for the county plan department is slightly lower than 2011, but noted that most of that difference was due to a single $1,000 special meeting fee received in 2011. So far in 2012, the department has received $12,350, with the highest amount coming from variance fees, totaling $4,180. There have been six land use variances filed for fees totaling $1,900. There have been 14 site plans, with $1,400 collected in fees for 2012.

In 2011, the department had received 13 site plans in the same period, seven land use variances and $4,500 in variances fees.