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Rezone for Open Range gets approval


The continuing expansion of the Open Range RV facility in Shipshewana got a positive recommendation to rezone to I-2 from the LaGrange County Plan Commission last Tuesday evening.

The 12.9-acre parcel sits directly north of the current location.

Jason Martin from Open Range told the plan commission that the company is looking at the land to possibly locate an additional facility in the future. Martin told the board that neighbors of the property had expressed concern about noise, and that the company was proposing a screen of trees around the north and east lines of the property.

A residential area adjoins to the north, but no homes are built there at the present time. A residence sits to the east, having been built in a B-3 zone after receiving a variance.

Plan Commission member Steve Engleking noted that, while not against the rezone, he felt there may be more screening needed than a row of trees. “We will be stringent on buffering with a residential area right there,” Engleking said.

Future construction on the site would require site plan approval from the plan commission, which can look at proposed buffering at that time.

Engleking also questioned if the owner of the residential lots would have trouble selling them with an I-2 zone adjacent. However, it was noted that the owner, Stuery Builders, had been notified of the rezone request and had not provided any comment either for or against the rezone.

The rezone request will now go to the Town of Shipshewana for approval.

The board also sent a second rezone request to the LaGrange County Commissioners with a positive recommendation to rezone two tracts of land located at 9290W US 20 currently zoned A-1 to I-1. The tracts, totaling 20.12 acres, sits just west of KZ RV. The owner, Cletus Eash, told the commission that he has some interest in the location, including a welding shop.

In other business:

The commission postponed action on a site plan review for CrossRoads RV in Topeka on an office complex as no one from the company or contractor were present. The office complex will serve as the company’s corporate headquarters. Although no questions were raised on the information provided, the commission noted that past practice was not to act on a site plan without representation from the applicant. A special plan commission meeting has been set for 1 p.m. on Monday, July 30, to review the CrossRoads RV site plan.

The commission approved a site plan for a 48’x60’ woodworking shop at 4540W 200N for Marion Petersheim.

M&E Investments had a site plan for a 9,000 sq. ft. addition to their facility at 1340 Industrial Dr. in LaGrange approved.




Kenneth and Sharon Stutzman received approval for up to three 35’x96’ hoop barns for newborn dairy calves at 10635W 250N in Shipshewana.

Levi and Lorene Beachy of Stoney Acres Woodworking at 2685S 1000W in Shipshewana received approval for a 8,400 sq. ft. storage building.

Ferman and Katie Hochstetler of Hollow Ridge Lodging at 1695N 1150W in Shipshewana were approved on a 7-1 vote for a two-cabins campground, with a third cabin possible at a later date. The cabins would be rented out for overnight stays. The board set conditions regarding lighting and the driveway going to the cabins.

The commission was reminded that beginning in August, the LaGrange County Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals would be switching meeting dates, moving the plan commission to the fourth Monday and changing the BZA to the third Tuesday. The switch was proposed in order to lessen the time needed for projects that require a BZA variance approval before site plan approval. Previously, a project would need to wait up to a month or longer to get both approvals. Now, a project can receive variance approval when needed and then go for site plan approval a week later.

The next regular plan commission meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27.