Zionsville Town Council votes against proposed housing development near Indianapolis Executive Airport

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Correction: The proposed development would have been east of S. Michigan Road. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated it would be west of S. Michigan Road.

The Zionsville Town Council unanimously voted to affirm the Zionsville Plan Commission’s unfavorable recommendation of rezoning a parcel of land near the Indianapolis Executive Airport for a proposed housing development.

During the council’s Nov. 1 meeting, councilors were asked to rezone 79 acres just south of the airport’s runway, east of S. Michigan Road and south of County Road E. 200 S., from a rural agricultural zoning district to a rural single-family and two-family residential zoning district. The parcel would have remained a rural Michigan Road overlay district.

Lennar Homes, which planned to build 130 single-family homes on the acreage, initially presented a proposal to the plan commission on Oct. 18 that included an additional parcel, totaling 119 acres. The proposal included plans for 278 homes in two areas. But the plan commission expressed concerns about density, traffic and proximity to the airport. Lennar Homes officials developed a new plan, which removed 40 acres of the development and reduced the number of homes to address the plan commission’s concerns.

Before the vote, Zionsville Town Council President Josh Garrett said he favored upholding the plan commission’s decision.

“We have a very good plan commission, and we appreciate the work they do,” Garrett said. “They sort of go through a process themselves, and I take their recommendation very seriously. I don’t want to get into a habit of them making a recommendation and in between then and now there are substantial changes, and it’s a negative one, to then have the council make a more uninformed reaction than the planning commission.”

Council member Traylor voted against the proposal because he was not in favor of building more homes in close proximity to the airport runway. He said he wishes the proposed Union Woodlands subdivision, near County Road E. 200 S., just south of the runway, was not being considered. To date, the development does not have all entitlements in place; future filings with the plan commission are still needed; and a time frame for the project is unknown, according to Amanda Vela, the town’s public information officer.

“I asked the plan commission to rezone that property from residential to agricultural,” Traylor said of the Union Woodlands subdivision location. “That property was zoned residential roughly 15 years ago by the county as part of a negotiation with the property owner at that time. The problem was we couldn’t turn down the petition for that subdivision because it essentially met all of the qualifications for that residential zoning. I wish we would have realized it was coming a year earlier, and I would have had it rezoned (to be agriculture) because that is a big mistake because it is right at the end of the runway.

“We had the opportunity to stop this one.”


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