Zionsville Times Sentinel

July 15, 2013

Public comment to be heard Monday on The Farm

By Andrea McCann
Times Sentinel Managing Editor

---- — The Zionsville Plan Commission will hear public comments Monday evening, July 15, about a development planned for the southwest corner of 116th Street and Michigan Road. Originally slated for the commission's June meeting, a remonstrator came forward June 10 to file an automatic continuance.

In May, Pittman Partners LLC filed plans for a mixed-use development on 62 acres at 11675 Sycamore St. (116th Street), which would require rezoning from residential (R-2) to planned use development (PUD). To be called The Farm, the development would include retail, commercial, multi-family and single-family units.

According to paperwork filed with the plan commission and available for public viewing, J. William Ferree of 11702 Sycamore St., filed for the continuance to allow time to express his concerns about the project, which would be directly across the street from his home. A letter from Ferree's attorney states Ferree wishes to "protect the integrity of Sycamore Street with it remaining a street that serves his property and residence as well as others on the north side."

The letter also states that Ferree's goal is to keep the development from causing traffic, noise and sound, light and other byproducts of development from materially affecting the Ferree property. It includes a list of concerns and possible resolutions. They cover landscaping, traffic signals, turn lanes, pedestrian and truck traffic, unit sizes and locations within the development, sewers, disturbances to surrounding property owners during construction, and impact on Zionsville Community Schools.

"We're going before the Zionsville Plan Commission on Monday evening, and they will hear our petition to rezone our property we're calling the Farm at Zionsville to a PUD ordinance," said Steve Pittman, a principal along with his brother, Chad Pittman, in Pittman Properties. "We've met with many neighborhood groups, homeowner associations, individual homeowners, the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce and many others. Through that process we got lots of comments about things they'd like us to change, and we have made some modifications after hearing many opinions."

Pittman added that the town of Zionsville has a technical advisory committee review process they have to go through that looked at specifics and addressed all comments received.

"We have a favorable recommendation from the (Plan Commission) staff," he said. "The Chamber of Commerce has issued their support, along with numerous property owners."

Wayne DeLong, director of planning and economic development in Zionsville, confirmed the plan commission staff is recommending approval of the development. He said all information has been circulated.

"It all will be discussed at Monday night's meeting," he said. "The plan commission hears evidence and comes up with a recommendation."

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Zionsville Town Hall's Beverly Harves Room, 1100 W. Oak St.

"The way the public hearing process and the planning process works, the person desiring to zone a property makes a presentation," Pittman said. "After that presentation, people are allowed to give input for or against. After that public hearing is closed, plan commission members and staff will discuss the project and ask questions."

He said he and his brother also will have a chance to respond to the remonstrance. Following that, Pittman continued, the plan commission can recommend approval, denial, continuance, or have no position. If it's continued, he said, everyone comes back to the table for further review; if the commission takes any other position, the issue moves on to the Zionsville Town Council at its Aug. 5 meeting.

"The plan commission's job is to formulate a recommendation and forward it to the town council," DeLong explained. "The plan commission is bound to certify the request (for rezoning from R-2 to PUD) to the town council for their next meeting. That doesn't mean it will be heard by the town council on the fifth."

He said there was a similar situation with the Witham property on the northeast corner of 116th Street and Michigan Road, and the town council tabled the issue when it was presented.

"It's just the process these things go through," Pittman said. "It's pretty standard."