Brownstown proposes zoning map changes



Brownstown’s plan commissioner has proposed three changes to the town’s zoning map.

An area in the 300 block of East Bridge Street east of the former Dura Automotive plant is zoned agricultural, but Ben Lewis said the owners of Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation want it rezoned industrial so they can move their business there from State Road 250.

Another proposed change involves making the property of the future home of the Jackson County Justice Center zoned downtown business. It’s currently zoned R10 residential.

The third change is for property near Scott Sales and Service along West Commerce Street to go from R10 residential to highway business so it can continue to expand.

Town attorney Rodney Farrow said changing the zoning map requires a petition from a landowner or a plan commission. If a favorable recommendation is given, it moves to the town council for approval by adoption of an ordinance.

Lewis recently received approval from the Brownstown Town Council to move forward with the process of placing notices about the zoning map changes and setting public hearings. Notifications will be sent to adjoining property owners at all three sites, and a sign will be posted at each location to make the public aware of the proposed changes, Lewis said.

Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation, which started in 1974 as Quality Tool and Design and later changed to Brownstown Quality Tool and Design, currently has about 10 employees but may have as many as 30 or 40 at the new location.

“They are landlocked, and then as far as their building goes, it’s jammed full. You couldn’t possibly fit another machine in there if you tried,” Lewis said of the business’ current location.

When the zoning map was put together, the property along East Bridge Street was zoned agricultural. The business owners want it to be changed to industrial so they can move forward with the process of purchasing the property and expanding their business.

With the justice center project along South Sugar Street, a new building will be constructed on county-owned property to house all three of the county’s courts.

The county also is pursuing the purchase of two additional properties, one owned by Michael and Christine Kloppenburg at 121 S. Sugar St. and the second owned by Max and Eva Middendorf at 219 E. Cross St.

The engineering and architectural group involved in the project recently contacted Lewis about making a zoning change for the property so work can begin. The town’s plan commission and board of zoning appeals both gave favorable recommendations for the rezoning.

The Scott Sales and Service expansion was announced by employee Leah Butler at the end of January. She shared plans to demolish homes at 314 S. Poplar St. and 209 W. Commerce St. to allow the used car business to expand its sales lot.

The plan commission approved the demolition of the homes, and Lewis signed the building permits.

Then the business received approval for an alley in the 300 block of South Poplar Street to be vacated so customers could drive in and out of the lot.

At the time the zoning map was made, Lewis said the lots where the homes used to be were zoned R10 residential. The change to highway business will allow the business to expand.

Lewis said a letter has been sent to the business owners notifying them of changes they will have to make to the property to bring it into conformance, including landscaping, a setback from the street and not having cars’ bumpers hanging over the curb. The changes will need to be made within six months after the rezoning.

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