Flying J Coasts into Indiana

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Flying J Coasts into Indiana

NEW HAVEN, Ind. -- Plans for a Flying J travel plaza here can proceed, after the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a year-old judgment earlier this week, reported the News-Sentinel.

Thirteen months ago, a lower court ruled that a Flying J plaza could not be located at Minnich Road and Indiana 930, as it did not fit zoning guidelines. That ruling defended prior decisions by the New Haven board of zoning appeals and the city planning director.

Jim Federoff, attorney for Ogden, Utah-based Flying J Inc. told the News-Sentinel that the appeal court "did a careful job reviewing it."

"I am a little concerned," city planning director Brian Yoh told the paper, "if this is the ruling from the appellate court, it leaves me with a lot of questions about how valid zoning codes in the state of Indiana are."

This may just be a temporary reprieve from additional appeals, as the city of New Haven can appeal the most recent decision to the Indiana Supreme Court. As of now, that has not been finalized, however Yoh told the paper that officials will determine in upcoming weeks whether to use that option.

The travel plaza's plans were originally submitted in March 2005, but upset residents and forced the city to choose its residents or a company that planned to bring 100 jobs to the area and a $2 million payroll, the Sentinel reported.

In April, residents that attended a zoning board meeting in April criticized the plans as a danger to children at nearby schools and a source of noise pollution and traffic.

Shortly after, Flying J petitioned to build the 17-acre plaza -- including a convenience store, country market, 24-hour restaurant, fast-food court, service station with fuel, computers, and a rest facility with showers and laundry -- on land it owned. That land was zoned for general commercial use, and Yoh decided that truck fueling stations, waste tank disposal and 24-hour parking for 187 trucks did not meet the zoning. The zoning board backed up this decision, and Flying J took the issue to Court of Appeals.

Flying J officials did not return calls to the News-Sentinel.