FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The building along West Jefferson Boulevard that has drawn questions and stop-work orders for months has cleared a major hurdle.
Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday approved a request to rezone to land at 6626 W. Jefferson Blvd. from R1 residential to C2 commercial. Local restaurateur Martin Quintana hopes to create a restaurant and retail space in the large building that remains half-finished.
That was the initial plan, though.
Initially, Quintana planned to replace the roof of a single family home, county Building Commissioner John Caywood said. A stop-work was issued by the Allen County Building Department, though, when crews removed the roof completely to add a large garage, and Quintana was fined. The roof was eventually raised.
As the project grew, another stop-work order was issued – the day Quintana filed for a rezone – after an unlicensed welder was found working at the site, Caywood said.
The project eventually grew so much in size, though, that a complaint was sent to the Allen County Building Department.
Last month, then, the Fort Wayne Plan Commission voted to rezone the land from residential to commercial. The commission also approved Quintana’s primary development plans.
Today, the building is half-built, and Caywood said it would take significant work to make it a safe and compliant commercial building.
It did meet the requirements for a rezone, however, and City Council voted 6-3 in favor of the move.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, Councilman Jason Arp and Caywood both warned of possibility of setting a bad precedent by rubbing stamping a project that has not gone through the right channels. Arp, along with Councilmen Geoff Paddock and John Crawford, voted against the rezone request.
“Everything that could be done wrong with this project was done wrong,” said Crawford, adding that council must now hope that moving forward the developer will do things the right way.
That remains to be seen.