By MAGGIE KENWORTHY
The property which houses the old Syracuse Elementary School received two recommendations for rezoning during the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Marlin Miller petitioned to rezone the property located at 502 W. Brooklyn St., Syracuse. He wants to rezone the north and west side (which formerly housed the classrooms and back playground) to residential while rezoning the east and south side (which formerly housed the gym, cafeteria and front playground) to commercial. The property is currently zoned as public-use and residential.
Miller, who owns John’s Butcher Shop in Nappanee and Bounthanh’s Egg Rolls, explained the residential side would be turned into an apartment complex. This portion of the building totals 64,000 square feet, which is currently planned to house 45 apartment units. These apartments would be a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units.
“I think it can be a nice residential apartment community,” said Miller.
The commercial side of the building would be used by Miller as a food processing business. His company has outgrown its current location and would move the processing side of the business to this building. Miller assured the board no slaughtering of live animals would occur on-site and asked that this restriction be a condition of approval. There will also be no retail aspect of the business at this location.
“I want to be aware of going into a residential area and not making any problems,” said Miller.
One neighbor, Laura Charles, came to the meeting to object to both requests. She told the board 45 units are too many for the space available and would have a large impact on traffic. She was also was concerned with the environmental impacts a food processing business would have on the area and how it could impact her and her husband’s health.
“This will impact me majorly,” said Charles. “Is that something you guys want to live next to? I don’t.”
The board ultimately voted to recommend approval of both rezoning requests.
Area Planning Director Dan Richard explained the APC can only make a recommendation on this case. The rezoning request will go before the Syracuse Town Council at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19. Both uses for the property are also exception uses, which means they must be approved by the Kosciusko Board of Zoning Appeals. During the BZA meetings, restrictions and specifications to the uses can be made, such as the hours of operation for the business or the number of units in the apartment building.
The board also voted to elect the 2021 officers. The members who served as officers last year retained their positions. Lee Harman is the chair, Kevin McSherry is the vice-chair and Mike Kissinger is the secretary.