The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Local News

December 19, 2012

Lapel Bison World project apparently dead

Town used property as dump

LAPEL, Ind. — It appears bison won’t be arriving to roam the range in Lapel after all.

Sam’s Meat & Produce Inc. won support for a special uses permit from the Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals in October to raise and graze American bison on the former Brockway Golf Course at 2481 S. Brookside Road.

But a sales agreement between Sam’s Meat and Owens Brockway Glass Container for the 51.7-acre parcel apparently faltered in November when the company discovered the town of Lapel accidentally used part of the property as a dump site for concrete, leaves and tree limbs, according to a published report in Stoney Creek Lifestyle.

After establishing a grazing operation in Lapel, owner Arden Johnson planned to open a retail store and possibly an eatery.

Those plans are all apparently on hold. When reached for comment Wednesday, Johnson said, “I’m not making statements at this time.”

News of the project’s apparent demise came as a disappointment, said Town Council President Gary Shuck.

“I thought it would be a great attraction for Lapel,” he said, “but I really don’t know what happened. As far as I know right now, it’s not going to happen.”

He said it was the second economic development disappointment to occur in Lapel recently. The other was the loss of a new retail store at Lapel Commons.

In its application to the Board of Zoning Appeals, Johnson wrote: “Bison World strongly feels bringing an ongoing bison operation to Lapel would be the best use of the Land.” He added that the company would feature a family-friendly petting area with guided tours through pastures to teach people about the benefits of bison.

For its part, the Madison County Planning commission called the proposed development “responsible land use development” that would promote and protect the rural character and quality of life in the area where Bison World would be located.

In addition, the plan commission said there would be economic benefits to promoting agri-tourism, and that the social and zoological benefits would be good for Madison County and Lapel.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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