The Fishers City Council voted 6-2 at its April 19 meeting to approve The Villas of Fishers despite concerns from nearby residents who expressed their frustration after not being permitted to speak during the meeting.
The project consists of 250 residential units — 210 duplexes and eight five-plex townhomes — on 36 acres on 116th Street south of Fishers District.
About a half dozen nearby residents wanted to remonstrate against the location of an exterior fence, which they said had been changed from previous versions of the plan. Developers claimed the fence location had not been changed.
The residents attended the council meeting to raise their objections, but they were informed that the forum for public comments was offered at the plan commission meeting the previous week and that they would not be permitted to speak at the council meeting. They were not happy and raised objections from the public seating area, at times shouting while city councilors tried to discuss the matter.
“What we agreed on, as a community, was changed between the final meeting and today, which is why we showed up. It had to do with things that were important to properties back there,” Fishers resident Lisa Miller said after the meeting. “What we were presented with was the fence was going to be on one side, and that changed between our agreeing and today.”
Attorney Steve Hardin of Faegre Baker Daniel, representing developer Thompson Thrift, said he was surprised by the negative reaction to the placement of the fence.
“It was the first I had heard about it,” Hardin said.
Hardin, who outlined updates to the proposed development to the council, said there had not been questions about a fence until the evening of April 19.
“I don’t know exactly where their frustration is coming from, but (the residents) thought that there had been a change from the plan commission meeting, and it is confirmed that the ordinance submitted to the plan commission, related to the fence location, has not changed from the plan commission to tonight,” Hardin said.
Mayor Scott Fadness spoke to some of the concerned residents during and after the meeting to come up with a compromise and path forward.
“We’re making progress,” Chad Litton, one of the concerned residents, said after the meeting and after the discussion with Fadness and developers. “We’ve got the next step that we can address with them.”
Eric Wojak of Thompson Thrift said it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page but that developers will attempt to do so.
“We will continue to work forward with the neighborhoods,” Wojak said.