An appeal filed in circuit court accuses Wayne County’s Board of Zoning Appeals members of hastily making a decision that would allow a U.S. 27 auction facility without fully considering neighbors’ concerns.
John and Tammy Tackett, who live south of the proposed livestock, equipment and general merchandise auction facility, are appealing two BZA decisions made Sept. 14 after a public hearing. The BZA unanimously approved a variance of use in the land’s agricultural zoning to allow for the auction facility and approved a special exception for Wednesday livestock auctions.
The BZA restricted auction times to 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 only permitted 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.
Omer Kauffman and Midway Auction Barn LLC received approval for the U.S. 27 site north of Fountain City after the BZA previously rejected a Helm Road location south of Williamsburg. The facility, which would have a 300-seat building, an animal barn and on-site parking, would be on the east side of U.S. 27 on about 20 acres purchased from a 61-acre parcel with land on both sides of U.S. 27.
The Tacketts’ filing in circuit court, which is the venue for BZA appeals, expressed concerns for safety, including children loading and unloading on school buses; increased traffic on narrow county roads; loss of property values; nuisance due to hours of operation; and safety issues because of no planned outside facility lighting and driveway lighting.
No court appearance has yet been scheduled.
John Tackett was one of five people who spoke in opposition of the auction facility during the 90-minute BZA meeting. He expressed to the board that property values would be reduced and that the wooded, 20-acre lot did not provide enough land for the auction business, which he expects to grow exponentially.
Tackett showed BZA members a photo of the view from his property of the land where the auction facility would be built. He said there would be lighting and generators running and did not think the facility would close at 9:30 each night.
“It takes a long time to load people’s equipment onto trailers,” Tackett said. “If they have mic time ’til 9 o’clock, they’ll be out there ’til after midnight. I 100% guarantee it.”
Tackett said the additional traffic on U.S. 27 also poses a danger. He said drivers often speed on U.S. 27 between Fountain City and Lynn, and vehicles turning from the two-lane 27 into the auction facility would cause them to jam on their brakes trying to stop.
“I’m really concerned with that much additional traffic that there’s going to be some problems there,” Tackett said, adding, “I’m just not sure that’s a good location for it.”
Tackett indicated an auction facility in Knightstown is on U.S. 40 where the road has four lanes and is not next to houses. He said a similar situation in Wayne County would be a more proper location.
A version of this article appeared in the November 1 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.