Residents on Weaver Road could see a compromise soon for the rezoning of a neighboring piece of land to accommodate heavy industry.
Paris Township Trustee Tony Eufinger told the Journal-Tribune he’s had several conversations with the developer’s legal representation, Kephart Fisher, LLC, since the last council meeting.
“I think they had listened to the concerns with the residents,” Eufinger said.
He noted that nothing has been decided yet. Matthew Cull, an associate attorney at Kephart Fisher, echoed that, though he said he believes solutions could be worked out by next week’s council meeting.
“We think we could work everything out by Monday,” he said.
The applicant, a barley malting company, sought a change in zoning for a 286-acre piece of land between Weaver Road and Industrial Parkway, going from light to heavy industrial. The applicant’s intention is to build a roughly 40-acre malting facility there, with fields of barley taking up the rest of the space.
Residents of Weaver Road have voiced their concerns both to the city’s planning commission and council about the impact of rezoning. Many held the worry that if the facility doesn’t end up going in, it could pave the way for more disruptive developments in the future.
The land in question is made up of five parcels. According to Eufinger, the developer might be willing to have the largest parcel left to be classified as light manufacturing. This parcel is the closest one to Weaver Road, which would leave a buffer zone between the facility and residents.
Cull said other preliminary discussions that have been going on include requesting deed restrictions to prevent more disruptive development. He said that might calm some of the fears residents have.
The developer is apparently also willing to work with the city on the southwestern-most parcel. While this will still be zoned into heavy manufacturing, the builders are willing to negotiate a hefty setback between the development and nearby residences, creating another buffer.
Eufinger said he still has concerns about where the development will find road access, since it isn’t actually bordered by any road. Though in general, he said the developer seems to be willing to accommodate concerns from the locals.
“They appear to be open to some ideas that would create a buffer,” he said.
Eufinger said out of the many developments that could go in a heavy industry district, a malting facility is one of the least obtrusive options. That said, Eufinger knows the issue will affect Weaver Road residents more than him.
“It’s not my backyard, it’s theirs,” he said.
The application will have its third and final reading at Monday night’s 7 p.m. city council meeting at city hall. Residents with lingering concerns will have a chance to voice them at the meeting, and Eufinger encouraged those citizens to attend.
“I think this is a good stop in the right direction,” he said. “But I want to make sure the residents weigh in as well.”
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