Residents against rezoning land to faciliate company's expansion

ELKHART, Ind. -- The Elkhart County Planning Commission is expected to vote on rezoning a property behind County Road 15 to facilitate the expansion of MOR/ryde International. Nearby residents don’t want the land rezoned.

Kathy Hollenberg and her husband would be affected by the rezoning the property to manufacturing.

"We spend a lot of time gardening, We have tamed the border of the woods, we see a lot of wildlife,” said Hollenberg.

The MOR/ryde International expansion would extend through the woods behind the Hollenbergs’ home and into the neighboring prairie.

Hollenberg says the project would detract not only from the property value of her home, but would affect her family’s quality of life.

"We thought that we had built our last home. We joked with our kids that they would move us from here, to the nursing home. But that decision is threatened at this point,” said Hollenberg.

Bob Weaver disagrees.

Weaver is the Senior Project Manager for Anchors Construction, the firm designing the expansion for MOR/ryde.

He says the project would include 8 foot natural berms with 6 foot vinyl fences to shield the properties from unsightly industry and sound pollution.

Weaver says the company has met with the residents and community to address any concerns.

"Understanding these concerns, we see this as a very positive project for the community,” said Weaver.

The expansion is projected to bring 60 immediate jobs to the Elkhart community and ultimately about 100 jobs.

Weaver also argues that the community would benefit from the increase in property tax.

Residents argue there are other locations to expand.

"This decision by our county commissioners sets a precedent for homeowners in Elkhart County. No homeowner in Elkhart County is safe,” said Hollenberg.

If the planning commission approves the rezoning, they will send their recommendation on to the Elkhart County Commissioners who will have until May 20 to decide on the final rezoning.

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