Flint & Walling gets needed approval to expand locally

January 6th, 2017

By Dennis Nartker | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

In an unusual move, the Kendallville City Council Jan. 3 approved on first reading a proposed ordinance to rezone property before the change was reviewed by the Plan Commission.

Council members voted unanimously to rezone from R-1, single-family residential, to I-1, light industry, property at 800 W. Mitchell St., which is the vacant Essex Wire manufacturing building and parking lot.

Flint & Walling Inc. is acquiring the property to move a new product line from Mexico into the building that has been vacant for more than a year. The operation is expected to create 20 new full-time jobs.

City procedure has rezoning applications going to the Plan Commission for review and recommendation to the council. In this case, the Plan Commission won’t meet until Jan. 9.

Council members decided to expedite the procedure and pass the rezoning on first reading because the sale is pending.

In a memo to the council, Dave Lange, director of planning and zoning, explained the property is classified as nonconforming and the rezoning will classify it as “legal.”

The issue is the parking lot was extended into a residential zoning district in 1978, and a later Essex plant expansion in 1998 crossed the zoning boundary line. The proposed rezoning ordinance takes into account all the required setback provisions and no building expansion at this time, according to Lange.

“I feel this situation was created by the city with permit issuance and zoning code changes made in 1998,” he wrote in the memo.

Council members Regan Ford and Frank Walkup, members of the Plan Commission, expressed support for passing the rezoning on first reading.

After the Plan Commission reviews the request, council members may pass the ordinance on second and third readings Jan. 17, said Councilman Jim Dazey, chairman of the council’s law and ordinance committee.