A proposed development called Sycamore Flats, which is asking for 184 apartment units, a parking garage and a retail space in downtown Zionsville, has raised enough residential concern to elicit more than 1,000 signatures on a petition against the proposal.
In addition, 200 yards signs encouraging more residents to sign the petition have been distributed.
Mark Walters, a member of the Zionsville Neighborhood Action Group, said the Village isn’t anti-development but noted a planned unit development ordinance passed in 2010 for the 4-acre site at the southwest quadrant of Sycamore and 2nd streets doesn’t allow for the type of development Sycamore Flats wants to build.
“It doesn’t adhere to the PUD ordinance requirements,” Walters said. “If you read the PUD and read what it spells out in terms of what’s a desirable development, this really doesn’t seem to meet that.”
The 2010 ordinance states suggested density at no more than 15 units per acre. The Sycamore Flats development proposes 42.5 units per acre. The ordinance also sets a building height limit at 35 feet. The Sycamore Flats proposal is 41.5 feet. The ordinance also doesn’t permit an above-ground parking garage, which is included in the Sycamore Flats proposal.
Residents also are concerned Sycamore Flats is proposed in a TIF district, which means tax revenues must remain in the district in they are collected.
“Due to tax structure, this particular high-density apartment complex will not contribute (any additional) dollars to the school system for the students anticipated to come to the school or the town services (like police and fire),” Walters said. “Usually, when (TIFs) are involved, it’s creating jobs. This creates no jobs. It’s creating an expense.”
Zionsville Community Schools released a summary of the projected annual fiscal impact of the proposed development. It states that in the first year, the estimated annual revenue to the school from the number of projected students living in the development at $175,727. The projected annual expenses are estimated at $225,282, which shows a loss of $49,555.
Another concern among residents is that the average salary of Sycamore Flats residents is estimated at $77,000, bringing $14 million in annual revenue to the Village each year. However, a CPA within the Zionsville Neighborhood Action Group reasoned that even though a person’s salary may be based at $77,000, the figure doesn’t account for taxes, bills and other expenses.
Estimated after average expenses, a person making $77,000 may have $3,750 of disposable income to spend in the Village. That number, when multiplied by the 184 units, equals $690,000 spent in the Village per year, but not all that is considered profit to Village businesses due to their own expenses.
Zionsville Neighborhood Action Group member Gary Angstadt said the developers say they are filling a need for apartments near the Village for the renter-by-choice. the ZNAC disputes that need.
“They have a perceived need. I haven’t heard of anyone saying that,” Angstadt said. “There are 896 apartment units (in walking distance) to the Village.”
Angstadt cited Hunter’s Point, Quail Run, The Reserve and others as examples of apartment complexes near the Village.
Residents plan to voice their concern at the Zionsville Plan Commission meeting at 7 p.m. April 15 at Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 W. Oak St. For the agenda, visit Zionsville-in.gov. To sign the petition, change.org/p/zionsville-neighborhood-action-group-vote-no-to-a-pud-at-2nd-and-sycamore.