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Mishawaka electric car dealership plans causing controversy

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - There is some controversy associated with plans to bring an electric car dealership and service center to Mishawaka’s Grape Road.

While the vehicles themselves represent a way to curb pollution, some residents in the area fear the project will bring light pollution.

The facility would occupy the building that once housed the JC Penny’s Home Store at Grape and Cleveland.

In the light of day, from Rodney Waters’ back yard, you can clearly see a light pole towering high above his fence. “Well, we share a property line, a west property line, and our bedroom is within 200 foot of their lights, and I think we’re going to be flooded with light at night. It is a car dealership and if you go past Gurley Leep at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, it looks like noon.”

The project site borders residential neighborhoods on three sides. The most vocal opponents live along Timberland Road. “You ever been in a car lot? Got bright lights all over, people are talking, PA system is going,” said project opponent Fred Kruse.

About a half dozen homeowners attended a meeting of the Mishawaka Plan Commission Tuesday night where a spokesman for the project said this auto dealership would be different. “This is not a facility that is your typical automotive, we sell cars out of our facility. This is a, primarily a service facility with a showroom to showcase automobiles, solar products, and renewable products,” said Chris Soto with Triple J LLC.

At this time, those products have no name brand. “We are under contract to acquire the property and we are, we have a prospective tenant, that we have submitted to you is a high-end electric automobile, solar power, and renewable energy tenant,” Soto told plan commission members.

Project opponents can perhaps claim a moral victory in that the plan commission vote on the project was a close one. By a 4-to-3 margin the rezoning petition was given a favorable recommendation.

The request next goes before the Mishawaka Common Council.

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