Drive-in theater planned to offset event venue pandemic losses denied by zoning board

Local News

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – A request to operate a drive-in theater at an event venue southwest of Fort Wayne has been denied. It was an idea that was born out of a need to make up for income lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The owners of The Landmark Centre on Ellison Road, near the Village of Coventry, asked the Allen County Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to follow through with their plans. It was a move similar to Walmart’s decision to turn store parking lots into drive-ins.

According to a request filed with the BZA by Krishan Kumar, an inflatable 22-feet tall screen would have been used, with audio being broadcast through car speakers or a phone app. Movies would have been offered first on Friday and Saturday nights before expanding to Thursday and Sunday evenings.

The Landmark Centre owners told the BZA Wednesday that event bookings have plummeted this year and they anticipate a rough road ahead, forcing them to look for other options for income. The owners said they bought the building just two months before being forced to shut down.

A husband and wife duo, who live next to The Landmark, and in front of the drive-in space, voiced their opposition to the project to the board. According to Robin Mohr, they are concerned light from the movies would spill over into their backyard and home.

Tom Mohr, added worries about trash spreading and people walking through their property – similar concerns to those had by neighbors on the south side of the business.

The concerns were noted by the board who questioned the location of the screen and noise of potential movie-goers. The request was ultimately denied.

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