Plan Commission greenlights rezone for Fishers Community Center

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The Fishers Plan Commission voted unanimously Dec. 6 in favor of a rezone for 11400 Johnson Farm Way, the address for the planned new Fishers Community Center. The issue will go back to the Fishers City Council for a second reading and final approval, likely at the council’s Dec. 18 meeting. 

The rezone changes the site’s designation from residential to open space, which allows it to be used for recreational purposes. The council approved the rezone in first reading during a Nov. 20 meeting before referring the matter to the Plan Commission for a review and public hearing.

Several people spoke during the commission’s Dec. 6 public hearing. 

Greg Gant, who lives next to the site, said he and his wife, Barb, are excited about the planned center, but want to know whether trees separating their property from the site would remain in place. 

“I would like to see the tree line remain in place so that we do have some privacy for our property,” he said, adding that they would like to see a sidewalk installed on the east side of Hoosier Road to allow pedestrian access to the center, which is southeast of the intersection of East 121st Street and Hoosier Road.

Gant and other speakers also expressed concern about increased traffic in the area, noting that there already are regular accidents at that intersection. 

“We like our little privacy and our little wooded community, and we’re concerned both for the traffic in and out of the area not to mention, as (Gant) pointed out, the concerns at that particular intersection,” said Chris Neal, representing the nearby Sand Creek Woods subdivision. “I think it’s a great idea for the community to have a community center. It’s like everybody wants everything, but they don’t want it in their backyard.”

Planning Director Ross Hilleary addressed some of the concerns raised. He said the city does plan to build sidewalks, and he would talk to Gant to see how the city could help maintain the neighboring property’s tree buffer. He added that the city is working on plans to manage increased traffic in the area, particularly at the intersection. 

Plan Commission Member Todd Zimmerman, who also is a City Councilmember, noted that the site had been designated for residential development, which also would have led to increased traffic. 

The $60 million, 105,000-square-foot Fishers Community Center, announced in June, will be recreation-focused, and will include amenities such as a dog park, indoor playground, indoor walking/running track and an aquatics facility.

The center also will house clinical rooms and offices for the Fishers Health Department, a childcare facility, multipurpose rooms and public gathering spaces. Williams Architects | Aquatics worked with the city and The Hagerman Group on the project design.

For more about the center, visit thisisfishers.com/fishers-community-center-at-johnson-farm.

Also during its Dec. 6 meeting, the Plan Commission voted twice on whether to recommend that the City Council approve a rezone to allow construction of Drive Planning’s proposed new office building on 116th Street near Olio Road, but ended up with 3-4 votes each time, resulting in no recommendation. 

The proposal came before the commission several months ago, but a vote was delayed while the developer worked with neighboring property owners to come up with a design that better fits the character of the neighborhood. 

Several of those property owners spoke Dec. 6 during a public hearing before the votes and said the building exceeds the maximum square footage allowed, which is 4,500 square feet. The design shows a first-floor footprint that meets the size requirement, but then has a 1,000-square-foot, second-story loft. 

The first vote to recommend approval of Drive Planning’s building failed with Zimmerman, Selina Stoller, also a City Councilmember; and Howard Stevenson voting no. The second vote to not recommend approval also failed, with Zimmerman, Stoller and Stevenson voting yes. 

The commission has 11 members, which means at least six yes votes are required for a motion to pass. Several members were absent. The other four commission members present were Kim Logan, Bruce Molter, Katie Jackson and Pete Peterson. William Stuart was present telephonically at the start of the meeting but was disconnected before the Drive Planning vote. 

The Drive Planning rezone likely will come before the Fishers City Council on Dec. 18.

The next Plan Commission meeting is 6 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Launch Fishers theater, 12175 Visionary Way. 


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