By Nick Poust
During the Fishers City Council meeting Oct. 17, a motion was passed to establish an Employment Node District from 106th St. to 116th St., thus taking real-estate power from Sunbeam Development Co. and putting decision-making in the hands of the city.
Proposed by Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath, the Employment Node includes land along the I-69 corridor and regards undeveloped land which, for much of the past three decades, had been a planned unit development for Sunbeam Co. The decision did not sit well with Ken Kern, who was representing Sunbeam at the council meeting.
“Seeing the content of the Node ordinance that you just passed and how that applies to our properties, especially our property along 116th St., it’s going to be very, very difficult to figure out how we’re going to be able to do anything that’s going to work for us as investors in the ways we’ve been trying to develop this for years and years,” Kern said.
The Employment Node’s development standards, as proposed by McGrath, would require development plans along the I-69 corridor to feature a minimum of two-stories, and a maximum of three-stories, next to residential housing. Additionally, the Employment Node highlights the need for open space, specifically encouraging the creation of sidewalk cafes, fountains, sculptures and food kiosks, among other similar structures.
“While we’re zoning all of this Employment Node, the goal of the corridor overall is for more employment opportunities,” McGrath said. “We are happy to work with (Sunbeam Co. and other developers) should there be site-specific opportunities and ideas that are accretive to their vision and our vision as a community.”
City Council Member Pete Peterson viewed the rezoning as a positive for Sunbeam Co.
“I think you’ve looked at this particular ordinance maybe skewed,” Peterson said. “This is just going to enhance your property. This is not going to prohibit you from doing anything as long as the project goes along with the place we want to take the city.”
Peterson assured Kern that the city council would look at their individual proposed developments as they are brought forward and happily discuss it with all involved parties.
“Your current tenants are going to like it much better,” Peterson said. “Your future tenants are going to like it a lot better because they are going to know that we’re always drawing toward the highest development that we possibly can in that area.”
Kern said that Sunbeam Co. has four retail projects along the 116th corridor that will be brought to the city for approval in the next several weeks.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at Fishers City Hall, 1 Municipal Dr.