Council to vote on rezone

A local businessman is seeking final approval today from Seymour City Council to rezone property at 1815 N. Ewing St.

On Sept. 26, Rich Hampton of Seymour requested the city change the zoning of the property from residential suburban (RS) to highway commercial (C-3), to allow for construction of a building for storage and to sell classic and antique automobiles.

The property, which is located directly across from Burkart Boulevard, currently has a C-1 zoning variance to be used for a heating and cooling business.

Hampton said there are several businesses in the area already including Rockford Ridge drive-in restaurant, Carpet Gallery, Prewitt Outdoor Power, The Body Shop, Main Trailer Sales and Discount Boots and Tack.

“There are some residences, but we have no issues with anybody,” Hampton said. “No one wrote a letter or complained about what we want to do.”

Hampton and his business partner, Jerry Thurman Sr., have worked together for 20 years and own Big O Tires in Seymour.

They recently sold a warehouse in Washington and want to move their storage here, Hampton said.

“We’re just looking for a location where we can have a building to purchase, store and sell antique and classic cars,” he said. “We also have a desire to keep some of our overstock we may accumulate with our tire business.”

Hampton said most of the automobile sales are done online, and all storage of vehicles and tires would be inside the building.

“Every once in a while we have the opportunity to buy a container full,” Hampton said of tires. “If we buy 400 tires of the same size, they’re going to sit there for six to eight months until we get them weeded through. We’ve been in this town a long time and you don’t see junk around our properties.”

Council passed the ordinance on first read despite an unfavorable recommendation from the city’s plan commission, and will have the final reading at 7 p.m. tonight at city hall.

Mayor Craig Luedeman said he didn’t understand the plan commission’s vote and supports the rezone because he expects the area to become mostly commercial in the near future anyway.

“I see Highway 11 turning commercial all the way out through there,” Luedeman said. “There are a few houses, but for the most part it is commercial.”

Although he doesn’t agree with all rezone requests, Luedeman said this one makes sense.

Councilman John Reinhart said he thought the plan commission vote would have been different had Hampton requested a variance instead of a rezone.

As a member of the commission, Reinhart said he voted in favor of the rezone. The vote was 6 unfavorable and 3 in favor, with two members absent.

“Variances are designed if you want to operate a small business in your home, like a pet grooming or a beauty salon,” Reinhart said. “But when you do a variance to allow construction of a building, it’s basically rezoned, it’s never going to be RS again.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.