What at first seemed like an approval for the proposed Sycamore Flats development from the Zionsville Town Council, based on initial comments at a town council meeting Monday evening, ended in a denial when a motion by council member Susana Suarez to continue the decision to the next council meeting was voted down 4-3.
Sycamore Flats was a proposed 4.3-acre mixed-use development that would have featured 184 one- and two-bedroom apartments with retail space and a parking structure at the corner of Sycamore and Main streets.
The development has stirred a lot of controversy with many neighbors lobbying against it.
Voting against continuing discussions were council president Josh Garrett and council members Tom Schuler, Kevin Spees, Bryan Traylor and Jason Plunkett. Voting to continue looking at the project were council members Suarez and Elizabeth Hopper.
The council chamber was standing room only and many more filled the overflow area. Many town residents came dressed in red and wearing “Vote no” stickers to show their displeasure with the proposal. Prior to a decision, most council members took a moment to address behavior and hurtful comments they’ve received from some remonstrators of the Sycamore Flats proposal, in essence saying “shame on you” to those that chose to take the debate to a personal and negative level.
Schuler said he’s always been pro-development and felt the negativity toward the proposal boiled down to demographics.
“I’ve tried to make myself a contributor to this community and while 3,500 signed a petition (against the development), there are 25,000 that live in the community," he said. "The personal attacks and negative outreach is really disappointing. I’ve not always agreed with everyone here, but I’ve always treated them with respect.”
Suarez echoed his comments and said, “I’m ashamed and shocked at the personal attacks.”
Hopper said many of the exchanges she had were “well thought out and respectful” and asked the audience to “engage in civil dialogue and leave the disrespect behind.”
Regardless, as the denial of the proposal was announced, cheers and applause drowned out the remaining votes and a sea of residents in red were hugging and smiling as they exited Town Hall.
The corner of Sycamore and Main streets will remain empty until another proposal is brought to the table.
The Zionsville Town Council meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month and at 7:30 a.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Town Hall.