Rezone for car auction business approved


A car auction business once proposed for the Seymour area will wind up in the Uniontown area thanks to a recent Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals decision.

That business, Insurance Auto Auctions, received a special exception from the board to build on 64 acres of land zoned agricultural in the 1000 block of South County Road 1240E. Initially, only 20 acres or so of the land will be utilized with the rest being saved for future expansion.

The land will be leased to the firm, which operates more than 170 such businesses across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The vehicles auctioned will be those owned by insurance companies that have previously been damaged in wrecks or natural disasters, such as floods or tornadoes.

Carver Construction Group plans to use local businesses for building materials and some of the labor for the project. Once operational, the business will immediately employ 10 to 12 people in the area.

IAA has been looking to set up a location in southern Indiana to serve as an in-between for its Indianapolis and Kentucky operations.

The project was previously pitched for near the city of Seymour on 36.60 acres at 10699 E. County Road 400N and 22.79 acres at 3760 N. U.S. 31.

Aaron Terry, senior project manager with IAA, told Seymour officials during discussions about that proposal that on average, IAA fits anywhere from 100 to 170 vehicles per acre.

That proposal was denied unanimously by the city council after some neighboring residents raised environmental safety concerns with the project. Those concerns included leaking oil and other fluids, increased stormwater runoff and flooding, aesthetic appeal and decreased values of surrounding properties.

One nearby resident raised similar concerns during Tuesday’s county BZA hearing at the courthouse in Brownstown.

Tony Bush, who lives near the site, was worried about leakage from vehicles contaminating water for nearby homes that utilize well water. Bush also expressed concerns the business would lower the value of existing properties in the area, including his.

Previously during the meeting, Ryan Matthews, vice president of real estate and development for Carver Construction, told the board that car leakage would not be an issue. Bush pushed back at this claim.

“You can’t tell me those cars aren’t going to leak,” Bush said.

Matthews said the company has a process for dealing with leakage. Before vehicles are brought to the auction location, they are taken to a separate facility, where they are evaluated and leaks are addressed.

Additionally, Matthews explained any additional leakage would be minimal and employees would be trained on how to utilize spill kits on hand to contain it. IAA also carries environmental insurance for all of its facilities.

After more than an hour of questioning and discussing issues, the county BZA unanimously approved the request, allowing the business to proceed.

Board member Sherry Bridges said she hopes the auto auction will spur more businesses to come to Uniontown.

“Uniontown has the potential for some growth. I think you guys are going to set the bar so high that we’ll get some good businesses in there,” Bridges said.

Board Member Travis Norman also talked about his vote to approve the project.

“I think you guys will do a good job and run a clean facility. And I think the questions, the concerns that we had, you addressed them adequately, and I think you guys will look at it in the future and improve upon anything that may happen,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing for the area.”

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