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Last updated: Fri. Aug. 23, 2013 - 02:08 pm EDT

Commissioners OK zoning for 102 homes near Grabill

County Plan Commission had rejected the project last month

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In a rare disagreement, the Allen County Commissioners Friday approved a 102-lot subdivision near Grabill the County Plan Commission rejected last month.

By a 3-0 vote, the Commissioners agreed to rezone nearly 38 acres in the 12100 to 12500 blocks of Witmer Road for residential use, apparently clearing the way for Granite Ridge Builders' Saddle Creek Estates development.

The Plan Commission voted against the project 7-2 in July, saying it would create an island of homes in a mostly agricultural and largely Amish area. There were also concerns about increased traffic on the rural roads, crime and utility issues.

But the Plan Commission's vote was only a recommendation. The three County Commissioners have the final decision, and agreed Friday that the project's plusses outnumber its potential drawbacks.

“I've struggled with this one as much as any rezoning,” Commissioner Nelson Peters said, noting that he had compiled separate lists of plusses and minuses. “On the 'pro' side are jobs,” he said. “We haven't seen many housing projects. And extending sewers is a good thing.”

County Commissioner Therese Brown also serves on the Plan Commission and voted against the project in July, mostly because of safety concerns, such as the affect of more traffic on Amish buggies. But she voted for the rezoning Friday, saying her concerns had been addressed, in part by assurances Granite Ridge would be willing to help pay for safety improvements.

The homes are expected to sell for between $175,000 and $250,000.

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