Wayne County will have a livestock auction.

Midway Auction Barn LLC and Omer Kauffman received approval Sept. 14 from the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals to locate an auction facility along U.S. 27 north of Fountain City. The BZA had previously denied a petition to locate the auction on Helm Road south of Williamsburg.

Five neighbors opposing the auction facility spoke about their concerns during the 1 1/2-hour hearing. They cited many of the same concerns Helm Road-area residents expressed during previous hearings. Among them were noise, animal odors, lighting, long operating hours, contamination of watersheds, increased traffic, decreased property values and future growth of the auction business.

The BZA actually approved two petitions unanimously. The first allows the facility to auction equipment and general merchandise, and the second allows the livestock auctions, which Kauffman said would only be on Wednesdays.

The facility will use about half of a 20-acre plot on the east side of U.S. 27 north of Bockhofer Road. The plot, which also includes a wooded area, will be split from a total 61-acre plot that spans both sides of U.S. 27. 

Kauffman said an auction building will seat 300 people, and the facility will have ample on-site parking. Restrictions established by the BZA allow auctions on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with facility operating hours from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Microphone hours, which would be when the auctions are conducted, are set from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays.

No members of the public spoke in favor of the auction Sept. 14; however, during hearings about the Helm Road location, several residents involved in agriculture told the BZA that Wayne County needs a livestock auction. Currently, the nearest auctions are in Knightstown and Portland.

Even some opponents of the Helm Road location noted the need for the auction, but they did not want it on the proposed site. That same feeling came up again about the U.S. 27 location.

“I’m just not sure that’s a good location,” said neighbor John Tackett. He was especially concerned about the additional traffic causing problems and about future exponential growth of the business.

Sharon Mayberry said she was almost hit head-on recently by a vehicle passing an Amish buggy on two-lane U.S. 27. She called the situation “dangerous.”

Margaret Wilson, another neighbor, also expressed concern about buggies on U.S. 27 heading to the auction site and about the increased traffic causing accidents. She also did not want the smell or the lights in the area.

“I’m all for them having their business, just not in my neighborhood,” Wilson said.

Laiza Dumlao, who lives on U.S. 27 north of the site, said her family moved into the peaceful area so her four children would have space. She said they would move if the auction facility were approved.

Kauffman was provided an opportunity to address neighbor concerns. He said no outdoor lighting was planned for the facility, which will be fenced and gated. About the traffic concerns, Kauffman simply said, “If you can’t do it on 27, you can’t do it anywhere.”

Following the auction votes, the BZA also unanimously approved a petition by Joseph and Tauni McCullough to build a pole barn at their Stevens Road residence near Centerville for storage and space to assemble small electronic devices.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.