By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Developers of a proposed 24-home neighborhood are hoping to dig their way out of a drainage problem – literally.
The Cove, planned on 13 acres at 410 S. 4th St. and 500 S. Main St., is in a floodplain, but developers plan to use dirt removed from expanding an existing pond to raise the ground two to three feet at the site of the proposed vertical-style homes, reducing their risk of flooding. They also plan to improve drainage infrastructure that they say will benefit the area.
Nearby residents said flooding has long been a problem in the neighborhood.
“This area has completely flooded a few times in the seven years I’ve lived in my house,” said Maria Finnell, who lives just west of the proposed development. “I’ve had fish in my backyard, and two of my neighbors have had to tear down their houses.”
Drainage issues were among several concerns related to the project discussed at the Aug. 21 Zionsville Plan Commission meeting. Commissioners narrowly voted to rezone the property from Urban Residential Village and Urban Residential Single Family Zoning to a Planned Unit Development.
Commissioner Larry Jones joined Sharon Walker and Frank McClelland in voting against the rezoning. He expressed concerns about the high lot coverage percentage and the plan to locate utilities underneath private roads planned for the development.
“I get reluctant to allow our PUD ordinance to be used for this, because we all wish you success but if it doesn’t (succeed) it puts the Town of Zionsville in a very difficult situation, both with this project and others that come in front of us,” he said.
Matt Price, an attorney who partnered with two neighbors two years ago to purchase the land to have a say in its future, said developers are the ones who will pay the price if the project fails – not the town.
“That would be my problem,” he said. “We are taking and making a huge investment and a huge bet that this type of high-quality home and style of home is not available today in Zionsville, certainly not in a location that’s walkable to the Village.”
Price said the homes, which would be built by Carmel-based Sigma Builders, would be 1,900 to 2,300 square feet and sell for $450,000 to $500,000. They are targeted at families without children, as the development will include several acres of forested land but little open space. The three- and four-story homes are designed so that an elevator could retroactively be installed in closet spaces for those who don’t want to walk up and down stairs.
The site is currently home to one house and the Zionsville Trailer Park, which includes nine mobile homes. Current residents have been told they will have 120 days notice before they are required to leave the property.