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Goshen Approves Annexation Incentives for LCI

The Redevelopment Commission approved economic incentives Tuesday during a special meeting which grew heated as residents questioned why they were acting without more knowledge of the annexation the incentives are tied to.

This story by Jordan Fouts originally appeared in the Elkhart Truth.

The commission voted 3-2 on separate agreements with Lippert Components and D-Act-Z, which are seeking annexation of about 150 acres north of C.R. 36 on the east edge of town. The agreements would use tax increment finance district revenue to reimburse whichever company first develops the land with infrastructure like water and sewer lines and a sidewalk.

Lippert plans to build a $20 – $40 million facility on its portion of the land, according to Steve Jenkins, VP of operations. D-Act-Z, a Middlebury company formed in 2016 with Daryl Zook serving as principal, does not have any known plans for its property.

Before opening the meeting to public comments, President Tom Stump told the audience the commission was only voting on the incentives and that the annexation itself will be decided by city council. The Goshen Plan Commission will also vote at its Feb. 20 meeting on whether to recommend annexation based on whether it considers Lippert’s plans an appropriate use of the land.

Seven residents spoke, including a few who had the urged city council not to approve the annexation at its January meeting. Some asked if the commission had considered things like drainage issues on the land, the width of C.R. 36 or the impact the development could have on people who live nearby, while others questioned the process itself, why the commission would move ahead without knowing more or why Lippert didn’t choose an existing industrial park to build in.

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