During its Feb. 5 meeting, the Zionsville Town Council voted 4-3 to amend the Atwater rezoning project, which was unanimously approved last year by the Zionsville Plan Commission.
The approved portion of the project includes rezoning 10 acres at 7250 W. Oak St. in Zionsville to a Rural General Business district. The site is east of Stonegate Drive, and the rezoning will limit the permitted uses of the subject site to self-storage, mini-warehousing and professional offices.
The project has an estimated assessed value of $6 to $8 million.
Attorney Matt Price spoke on behalf of the petitioner, National Retail Development LLC. He said finding the correct use for the land has been challenging because high-tension power lines bisect it.
“Those power lines are tall,” Price said. “They are over 100 feet tall. They’re the predominant feature on the land, and any land use that goes there is going to have to be kind of tucked around and fit around those high-tension power lines.”
Price said the project will benefit the Stonegate Property Owners Association by cleaning up some of the title and maintenance issues associated with a pond the property.
“Part of our agreement with the Stonegate Property Owners Association is to deed them that excess pond property and the shoreline to allow them to take care of those maintenance responsibilities going forward,” Price said. “Then clean up property line issues for the folks that abut the pond so they can walk to the pond from their backyards without trespassing on land owned by another party.”
Price said the petitioner met with adjacent residences of Stonegate along the site’s northern perimeter.
One of the petitioners’ goals with the project was to preserve property values, distinguish it from Stonegate and make it separate from the neighborhood.
“We’ve done that by incorporating the landscaping and eliminating regular access across the drive that extends east-west on the west side of the property,” Price said. “One of the other commitments says we can’t use the name Stonegate. That was important to the association. We respect the value of Stonegate, which is a tremendous neighborhood.”
The project will have two more steps following the approval of the zoning ordinance. If it falls through at any time, the site can only be used for self-storage, mini warehousing or professional offices.
Councilmember Tim McElderry asked if the town needed another storage unit. He said he called multiple storage units around Zionsville and found an open space.
“There’s a facility not even a quarter of a mile away,” McElderry said. “So, I’m interested in knowing what the need is for this. If it was a McDonald’s and there was another a quarter of a mile away, we wouldn’t put another one next to it. So, what is the need?”
Price said the petitioner’s surveys showed that the storage facilities within a 3-mile radius of the site are above 90 percent occupancy and that the area is “significantly underserved.”
Councilmember Sarah Sampson said that changing the zoning was suitable for the Town of Zionsville.
“It’s a two-story pile of dirt view from Oak Street with a lot of weeds growing out of it, and it’s been that way for the 18 to 19 years I’ve lived here,” Sampson said. “So, saying that that’s a better thing for (the) neighborhood is a hard point of view for me. (By approving the zoning), I am not approving the project, but I am approving an improvement in what is good for Zionsville.”
Council President Jason Plunkett lives in the area and said many neighboring residents opposed the project. He ultimately voted against the rezoning.
The next town council meeting is at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 20 at Town Hall.