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The Journal Gazette

Chemical supplier has planners’ nod

Council has final say on contentious expansion project

Wayne Chemical Inc.’s proposed expansion plan passed another hurdle Monday evening when the city Plan Commission voted to recommend the project after extensive discussion.

The Fort Wayne City Council will cast the final vote on whether the investment can move forward.

About 20 residents of neighboring subdivisions attended a public hearing last week to voice concerns about the southwest Fort Wayne project that would add about 12,500 square feet to the building at 7114 Homestead Road.

People living in the Pine Hollow, Forest Ridge and Dells of Bittersweet subdivisions said the company’s expansion would make it difficult for them to sell their homes. They complained about noise, removal of trees, installation of a fence and other issues.

Wayne Chemical sells water treatment chemicals, equipment and services to the meat, food and beverage processing industries. The expansion would include offices, labs and related areas. Company officials have not disclosed the project’s estimated cost.

The company asked that its 4.7-acre site be rezoned to general industrial from limited industrial.

Timing was an issue for the request. The city’s zoning ordinance changed April 3, when Wayne Chemical was in the middle of the petition process. Under the updated ordinance, the requested zoning status would have allowed Wayne Chemical to use the property for many more uses than it originally requested. Neighbors objected to some of those newly sanctioned uses.

Patrick Hess, an attorney representing homeowners, requested a last-minute compromise shortly before the meeting. He asked Wayne Chemical to voluntarily agree to a pared-down list of acceptable uses for the land.

Jim Federoff, who represents the company, said he couldn’t reach the owners before the meeting to review the list of exclusions. But, the attorney said, Wayne Chemical officials are eager to move ahead with the project and could come back to the Plan Commission if they want to ask that one or more of the prohibitions be dropped.

The request was approved with that list of restrictions intact.

In other news, developer Jeff Thomas won approval to create a $6 million subdivision on the north side of the 7400 to 7700 block of St. Joe Center Road.

Summer Wind, a 61-home addition, would be east of the Wedgewood Place subdivision on Fort Wayne’s northeast side.

The ranch-style homes are expected to come in three- and four-bedroom floor plans and range in price from $160,000 to $280,000.

sslater@jg.net

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