ANDERSON – Rezoning for the planned opening of an autism clinic has been approved by the Anderson City Council.

The city council Thursday gave final approval for the rezoning at the Flagship for the Lighthouse Autism Center to relocate to an existing building in the 7300 block of Quality Circle by the end of the year.

The building was formerly used by Ivy Tech and the City of Anderson Employee Health Clinic.

Tim Stires, deputy director of the Anderson Municipal Development Department, said the previous zoning would not allow the opening of the center and was changed for the intended use.

He said the Lighthouse Autism Center has to receive a special exception from the Anderson Board of Zoning Appeals.

Currently, Lighthouse Autism Center is at 259 E. Tenth St. in the Panorama Shopping Center. It has 22 clients, and moving into the bigger facility will mean it can provide services to more local children.

The center will occupy 6,168 square feet of the building and plans to help 27 children in the future.

The Lighthouse Autism Center website said it uses Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to help improve social behavior.

It helps develop new skills, shape and redefine previously learned skills and decrease socially significant problem behaviors.

The company has expanded from six clinics to 24 in the past 18 months, with 19 of them in Indiana and five in Michigan. There are plans to expand into Illinois.

Solar Park zoning

The city council passed through two of the required readings two ordinances that will establish a zoning classification for two solar parks.

Earlier this year the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) agreed to a voluntary annexation of two solar parks into the city limits.

Stires said the solar park was located in the county and once the annexation was approved the city had to zone the properties.

An industrial zoning classification is being proposed for both sites.

One site contains 27 acres of the solar park along Madison Avenue, to the north of Cross Street.

When the 8.2-megawatt facility was constructed in 2017 on 60 acres of land, 33 of the acres were inside the city limits.

The second site contains 26.5 acres for the 7.8-megawatt facility in the 3200 block of South Rangeline Road.

That location went online in July, according to Chris Sanders with IMPA.

In other business, the council approved two residential tax abatements for Mustin Builders at 154 and 156 Asbury Drive in South Main Village West.

The two housing units are being built as spec units with estimated costs of $249,180 and $229,770.

Daphne Holtzleiter with Mustin Builders said the two units will contain 2-bedroom, 2-bath housing with a 2-car garage.

She said work on the two units should be completed in the next eight to 12 months.

“We only have two more lots left,” Holtzleiter said of the South Main Village West addition. “That will build out that section of the development.”

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.