Ken De La Bastide, The Herald Bulletin
September 3, 2023
LAPEL — A Chicago-based company wants to build a facility south of Lapel to recycle automobile parts and is being met with mixed reactions.
The Lapel Town council has approved the rezoning request of LKQ Midwest for 103 acres near the intersection of Ind. 13 and Ind. 38.
The Lapel Plan Commission deadlocked on the rezoning request and forwarded to the council with no recommendation.
A special use has to be obtained to operate the business and the Lapel Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the petition on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Station.
LKQ Midwest intends to build a 133,400-square-foot facility at a cost of up to $40 million and create 70 jobs.
The company recycles car parts for resale and stores the remaining shells of the vehicles on the property.
A concern was raised by Green Township Trustee Greg Valentine on the potential impact of the business on an aquifer that supplies water to the area.
Rob Sparks with the Madison County Economic Development Corp. said Friday the aquifer is located northeast of the site.
“I don’t believe it will impact the aquifer,” he said. “I don’t believe there will be any contamination.”
According to the proposal from LKQ Midwest all the fluids are removed inside the building, contained and later disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
The recycled car parts are then sold for reuse.
Sparks said the shells of the vehicles will be maintained at the location until sent to a salvage yard.
Lapel Planning Administrator Oksana Polhuy in her staff report recommended the rezoning from agriculture to general industrial use.
The proposal from LKQ Midwest includes a fence around the property, landscape buffer and retention pond.
Polhuy said the rezoning was not in conflict with the Lapel Comprehensive Plan and is in a location that is logical for the general industrial zoning.
In August the town council issued a press release that determined there was not a conflict of interest involving Councilman Brian Robertson and Plan Commission Vice President Dan Paddock.
The press release stated both Robertson and Paddock approached the town attorney to disclose potential affiliations.
The legal review determined there was no conflict of interest and that every step of the rezoning process adhered to the Indiana Open Door Law.
LKQ Midwest has facilities in the U.S., Europe and Taiwan.
It has 225 locations in the U.S. It operates facilities in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Laporte, Michigan City, South Bend, Speedway, Plainfield and Sellersburg.