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County allowing business to expand into residential area

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- Residents who live behind the MOR/ryde facility on Cooper Drive in Elkhart are unhappy with the county’s decision to allow the company to expand into land bordering their homes. Residents are worried about noise, environmental damage and property values.

Whether neighbors like it or not, an Elkhart neighborhood is getting a makeover.

Monday morning, county commissioners voted on MOR/ryde’s request to expand.

The decision was a split vote in front of a standing room only crowd. Commissioner Terry Rodino recused himself.

Residents near the plant say they feel betrayed.

"We bought our property with certain expectations, and those have been completely dashed,” said Stephen Hollenberg.

Residents are worried about their property values.

Company spokesman Robert Weaver says MOR/ryde is happy with the county’s decision and says even with a victory, they plan on working with neighbors.

"Whether it's noise, or sight, or dust, they will do everything they can to eliminate them or mitigate them,” said Weaver.

The company's expansion will provide dozens of new jobs.

Residents say the growth could have happened in a place that isn’t zoned for residential use.

"It's still a factory. It doesn't matter how high the dirt wall is, or the concrete wall. It's still a factory in a neighborhood. It's there, so it will negatively impact us,” said Hollenberg.

Construction will start in the next few months.

Some homeowners say they may end up leaving Elkhart as a result of the county’s decision.

MOR/ryde currently employs over 400 people. They have hopes of adding up to 100 more in the next few years.

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