Council considers extra parking proposal for Flats at 146

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At its June 11 meeting, the Noblesville Common Council spent much of the time discussing a proposal to add parking to the Flats at 146 housing development at 15201 Flats Dr., Noblesville.

Petitioned by the new owner of Flats at 146, Regency Multifamily, an ordinance was introduced to the council that would put approximately 130 addition parking spaces throughout the development, encroaching on the property’s 50-foot landscape buffer along the south property line.

At the time of approval for the development plan, there were 579 parking spaces required, and there are exactly that many on the property today.

David Hirschle, a representative for Regency Multifamily, which took ownership of the property in December 2018, said Regency Multifamily is requesting the amendment because a problem has been identified where 59 additional parking spaces had been created and striped within the drive lanes that go through the property, all of which are illegal spaces, a move that was done by the property’s previous owner.

Hirschle said letter from Noblesville Fire Dept. officials was penned communicating their concerns about fire hydrants being blocked and traffic being an issue for their trucks if an emergency were to occur. Since that time the NFD striped fire lanes in the area to keep residents from parking in front of hydrants. As a result, Hirschle said residents began parking on the opposite side of the drive, narrowing the lane even further.

The Noblesville Plan Commission sent a favorable recommendation of the ordinance to the council but required that the 59 striped-in spots be removed.

Councilors Greg O’Connor and Chris Jensen both voiced concern with the developer’s lack of following original development plans that were approved in 2014. O’Connor specifically pointed to landscaping that was supposed to be installed when the development plans were approved in 2014 but was not.

“I really struggle going back and making modifications, especially after something is built out,” Jensen said. “There were promises of green space, there were people that built homes around this area with those promises of green space and the buffering that we require. So, I’m not inclined to support this going forward.”

Councilors Darren Peterson and Rick Taylor both said they believed the parking problems are a result of management not enforcing rules, as residents are choosing to not park in driveway spaces behind the garage parking so they aren’t blocking in another resident’s vehicle.

Hirschle said because the company just took over the property in December, they inherited the problems of illegal parking spaces and the lack of agreed-upon landscaping features from the previous owner.

“I appreciate your situation. You’re not the ones that screwed this up,” Councilor Roy Johnson said during the meeting. “I think what we need to do is find a way (to) make this right, even though it was someone else who made it wrong. This is the introduction; I would recommend that between you and council try to come up with a way that will remedy this that will be acceptable with all parties, and that could be a bit of a challenge because you were handed an onion and expected to make lemonade out of it. You made the purchase, you’re in the situation, let’s try to figure out a way to make it right between all of us.”

At the time of the meeting, Flats at 146 had 92 percent occupancy.

Since the proposal was just an introduction of the ordinance, no action was taken. The Noblesville Common Council will meet again at 7 p.m. June 25 at City Hall.

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