Auburn Council Approves Senior Housing Project
Article by Dave Kurtz | KPC News | June 6, 2019
AUBURN — Rezoning for a senior living project passed its first vote by the Auburn Common Council Tuesday night.
A second vote will be needed later this month to change the zoning from light industrial to institutional at 2144 S.R. 8 on the west edge of the city.
The Sterling Group of South Bend wants to build a 132-unit senior housing complex on the 10.7-acre site, along the south side of the state highway.
Patrick Hess, director of development operations for the Sterling Group, said the Auburn building would have apartments for independent living and assisted living, plus 32 units for memory care. It would operate with a staff of 60-70 full-time employees.
Management would be handled by Franciscan Ministries of suburban Chicago, which operates about a dozen large, similar communities in Midwest.
Hess said the Sterling Group is a developer of multi-family housing, with approximately 7,000 apartment units in the Midwest and Southeast.
The Auburn Plan Commission heard the rezoning request last month and sent a favorable recommendation to the council.
A council committee of Kevin Webb, Mike Watson and Wayne Madden reported Tuesday on local companies’ compliance with terms of their property-tax abatements.
All recipients of abatements were found to be in compliance.
Committee members mentioned trends at several of the abatement recipients:
• Tempus Technologies has reached capacity in its new heaquarters on West 11th Street and is seeking to hire more employees.
• C & A Tool has installed new machines. Employment has grown from 120 to 160 workers, and the company is expecting to reach 200 employees at the Auburn site by the end of this year.
• Shiloh Die Cast Midwest is making 18 different parts for newly redesigned 2020 Corvettes. Its employee roster has grown from the mid-60s to well over 100, with expectations of adding approximately 40 workers this summer.
• Metal Technologies Inc. also is seeking to hire more workers.
• Rieke Corp. has increased employment by 31 people in one year.
• Hope’s Landing apartments are full with a waiting list.
Committee members said equipment that received tax abatements is in full operation at Metal X.
SCP Limited Holdings, Nitride LLC and Buchanan Securities LLC also were found to be in compliance.
Councilman Jim Finchum said most recipients of abatements have exceeded their predictions for employment increases.
“It’s nice to see people working in Auburn … for what today is a good wage,” Madden said.
Councilman Mike Walter raised his usual objection that there is no guarantee that statistics in the compliance reports are accurate. Walter voted to confirm only Tempus Technologies, because it occupied a vacant building, and Hope’s Landing.
Mayor Norm Yoder said the council will discuss proposed amendments to the city’s traffic ordinance at its June 18 meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
One proposed change would raise the speed limit on a portion of Auburn Drive (C.R. 48) to 45 mph from the bridge under Interstate 69 to the city limits at C.R. 19. Yoder said a traffic study showed the 85th percentile speed is 44 mph on that stretch of Auburn Drive.
“We’re working on an alternate method to manage the downtown parking,” Yoder said, in response to a recent court ruling that banned the practice of chalking tires to enforce time limits.
Yoder said the city’s goal in parking enforcement is not to make money, but to manage parking for the benefit of downtown.