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BZA to allow RV work to continue


An RV manufacturer will be allowed to continue to work at an offsite location following action by the LaGrange County BZA Tuesday.

Howard Stutzman, owner of Forks RV on US 20 west of Shipshewana, had been manufacturing RVs at another site, an old feed mill on CR 1150W south of US 20. That location was red tagged in December and Stutzman filed for a land use variance to allow him to continue. The BZA was told that Stutzman had more business than could be done at the US 20 location and began a small-scale operation out of the CR 1150W site, building one RV at a time with five employees at that location. The small-scale production is for two units per month that are being exported to Australia.

The BZA was also informed that Forks RV is looking to expand its US 20 location so that it will no longer need to manufacture off-site.

The BZA questioned how long it would be before the US 20 location was expanded. Stutzman is working with the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation to begin the expansion, but no timeline had been set.

The BZA approved the land use variance request with the condition that the variance is reviewed in one year. They also set conditions for no outside storage, this use and this owner only, no expansion, and remove a line of trees along the side of the building for better visibility.

In other business:

The board approved a developmental standard variance request for Ernest Bontrager for a 53 ft. roadside setback for the construction of a new home at 4030W 350S. Standard setback is 80 ft.

Rise-N-Roll Bakery received approval for setbacks of 8 ft. on the north property line and 10 ft. on the east property line for a new addition at 1065N 1150W. The standard setback in an I-2 zone is 20 ft.

Wana Auto Sales at 3210 N. SR 9 was approved to operate multiple businesses to include RV storage and sale of prefab utility buildings.

Three requests were postponed until the February BZA meeting:

Ernest and Esther Yoder, 2270S 1000W, for a land use variance to sell long guns and handguns at auctions conducted on their property.

Tom Stone, Lot 18 Shells 2nd Addition to Oak Shade Resort, for two side yard setbacks of 4 ft. where 10 ft. is standard.

William Christner, 5770S 100W, to operate a campground in an A-1 zone.