C. Ind. County Won't Stop Work At Chrysler Plant

Tipton County planning director Steve Edson said halting construction work would harm Chrysler's plans for completing the massive factory near Tipton that German auto parts maker Getrag started building in 2007.

TIPTON, Ind. (AP) -- County officials have decided they won't make Chrysler stop work on an unfinished transmission factory in central Indiana while they sort out building permits for the project.

Tipton County planning director Steve Edson said halting construction work would harm Chrysler's plans for completing the massive factory near Tipton that German auto parts maker Getrag started building in 2007.

Three residents have appealed to a county zoning board Edson's decision to extend without public notice the original building permit, the Kokomo Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/177u1T6 ). Getrag, which stopped construction at the factory in 2008, paid about $21,000 for the one-year permits.

The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-2 Wednesday to consider the permit appeal.

Board President Jerry Acres said he didn't intend to delay work on the factory, but had never heard of taking an expired permit and granting it to another entity.

"I look at the fairness for everyone else," he said. "When do I get a free permit? (Chrysler) should follow the same rules as everyone else does."

Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson declined to comment.

Getrag was building the factory along U.S. 31 about 30 miles north of Indianapolis in a partnership with Chrysler before the automaker pulled out amid the recession. Chrysler announced in February its plans to finish the factory.

Jeff Sheridan, executive director of the Tipton County Local Economic Development Organization, said he believed county officials were taking the right steps.

"It makes no sense to make it more difficult for Chrysler to operate this facility," Sheridan said.

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