Brownstown Town Council approves temporary office for business


BROWNSTOWN — The newest business in the Brownstown Industrial Park is holding off on having a shop with an office building constructed.

The cost compared to a year and a half ago is a third higher, said Jeremy Morrow, co-owner of S and J Excavation and Concrete LLC.

Another issue is the place where he and his wife, Shanty, and four other employees work in an office isn’t large enough.

The Morrows have operated their business at their rural Brownstown home for about six years. The company does residential and commercial excavation and concrete work and also does some similar work for the Indiana Department of Transportation.

“We can still use our shop at our house, but we are bursting at the seams. We have six people working in an office at our house in what would be considered a den,” Morrow told the Brownstown Town Council during a meeting Monday night at the town hall.

The temporary solution is to set up a job trailer on their 12-acre site at 950 Veterans Drive on the south side of Brownstown.

“We have multiple yards of dirt to move on the site. We cannot get our electric installed until the site work is done and we have an idea of where our building is going to lay, and we can’t do any of this because we are busy, but then we’re in two spots,” Jeremy said. “It’s hard for me to run a company and do everything I’ve got to do in the office and then get stuff done here and not be able to work here.”

Plus, they can’t prepare their new lot because all of their equipment is out on jobs right now, so it’s just delaying the process, Shanty said.

“There are just so many barriers,” she said. “This is a temporary plan to make us more efficient so we can run our business appropriately because we are just strung out all over the place right now.”

Conner Barnette with Hoosier Planning Associates LLC, the town’s planning and zoning administrator, said there’s nothing pertaining to job trailers in Brownstown’s zoning regulations.

He suggested the Morrows discuss their plans with the town council and said stipulations might want to be established for what type of job trailer it can be and how long it could be there.

Jeremy said they looked at one building that’s 12-by-60 feet and another one that’s 14-by-60. One is a single-wide trailer with vinyl siding, and the other is a mobile trailer that’s bare on the inside and would have to have offices built.

“For us, a job trailer would be needed on job sites, so this just plays into the long-term plan. Even after we move out of it as an office, you’re going to see it on the lot,” Jeremy said.

“We will use this trailer in a year or two as we roll into a general contractor versus sub(contractor), so it makes sense that we use it now, build it how we need to and improve on the inside to make it look nice, all that, and then use that moving forward,” Shanty added. “We’re literally looking for whatever we can do because it’s going to cost quite a bit to have everything in it that we need, but until we get our building in, we can’t really build an office.”

Barnette also is the county’s building commissioner, and he said the county ordinance for a single-wide mobile home states it has to sit on temporary concrete piers that are anchored in the ground and have skirting.

Councilman Tim Robinson said another stipulation for the job trailer would be commercial use only and nonresidential.

“It’s going to be an office,” Jeremy said. “It’s going to be the place of our business.”

Councilwoman Sharon Koch asked the Morrows how long they plan to use the job trailer as a temporary office, and Jeremy said 18 to 24 months, depending on how the cost of building goes.

“I’m just not going to spend that money if it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “We’ve looked at buying places here in town, other buildings to run offices out of, and it just doesn’t make sense.”

After Koch thanked the Morrows for sharing their plans with the council, she made a motion to include the stipulations of using the job trailer for 18 months (with them coming back later for an extension if needed), skirting must be attached and commercial use only. Councilwoman Crystal Stuckwisch seconded, and it unanimously passed 5-0.

Barnette said he would rewrite the ordinance and then send it to town attorney Zach Miller so he could get that set to present to the council for approval at a future meeting.

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