Housing project voted down by the Noblesville Common Council

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Noblesville Planning Director Christy Langley explains new landscape buffers to the east side of The Courtyards of Hazel Dell project to the common council before it voted against the development. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Noblesville Planning Director Christy Langley explains new landscape buffers to the east side of The Courtyards of Hazel Dell project to the common council before it voted against the development. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

A housing project aimed at empty nesters on the city’s west side was unanimously rejected by the Noblesville Common Council on Feb. 24.

The Courtyards of Hazel Dell plans were to build 29 single-story, upscale condominium houses priced in the upper $200,000 to $400,000 on 8.8 acres on the northeast corner of Hazel Dell Parkway and 161st Street. The homes will have no side yards as patios will butt against the adjacent home.

John Smeltzer, attorney for the developers, said the development was aimed at age 55 and older and no swing sets or playgrounds were permitted. He said six floorplans were available to prevent a cookie cutter look to the development.

“We’re not creating a need but responding to a demand,” said Smeltzer. “It’s the perfect fit for this site and community.”

The project has support and opposition from neighbors of the area, which is farm land.

Ralph Waver, who shares 800 feet of the proposed development’s property line, supported the project.

. “It’s very attractive, high quality homes.”

“I don’t think anyone has a more vested interest in this than we do,” he said. “We have visited other units they have built in other places. We’ve been very satisfied with what he have seen – their workmanship, layout, care.”

Weaver said another reason he supported the project was that it prevented larger two-story homes from being built adjacent to his land.

Several neighbors like Terry Murphy expressed concerns about the density of the development. A change of zoning would have moved the property from rural to the highest density allowed and is typically seen in downtown areas.

“R1 to R4 is a jump,” Murphy said, adding he worried about the precedent it might set for future development. “It’s a way to max development on smaller parcels. We need to look at the area.”

The project faced an uphill battle as soon as it returned to the council after receiving an 8-2 unfavorable recommendation from the Noblesville Plan Commission on Jan. 20. Concerns were raised about density, landscape buffer, sidewalks and noise. While no new discussion was made by the council, Jeff Zeckel, who previously voted against the project at the plan commission, previously questioned the project’s proximity to Hazel Dell Parkway at the Feb. 10 meeting.

“You still have a lot of noise,” he said. “Fifteen thousand vehicles drive on there now. I have real concern with the noise pollution there at that spot.”

The common council approved two “empty nester” communities on Feb. 10. Like The Courtyards of Hazel Dell each had proposed building neighborhoods with smaller one-story buildings with minimal yards and landscaping.

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