Huge development pushes Lebanon toward Whitestown, Zionsville

This is the layout of the more than 2,000-acre Waterford development coming to Lebanon. The green area is expected to be residential and a golf course. The pink is a village, mixed-use proposed area, the yellow area is commercial and the blue area is industrial.

At 2,000 acres, the proposed Waterford development has the potential to transform Lebanon.

Waterford is a planned unit development that will stretch from County Road 100 South to C.R. 300 S. and from Interstate 65 to C.R. 400 E. The plans call for a golf course; an industrial park; an office building district; a mixed-use, village development; and hundreds of homes.

Lebanon Planning Director Ben Bontrager presented the plan to the City Council at Monday evening’s meeting. Henke Development Group of Westfield is planning a development that Bontrager says could take 20 years to complete and could add 8,000 residents to Lebanon.

“There would be a variety of residential uses,” Bontrager said. “Single family at multiple price points, maybe some town homes and condos, apartments and things like that.”

Henke has developed the Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Bridgewater in Carmel, and Holliday Farms in Zionsville. The development will be in Lebanon, but Henke is capitalizing on the popularity of Whitestown, the fastest-growing community in Indiana for the last eight years. Bontrager said the development will be so large that he expects it will need its own exit off of I-65 in 10 to 15 years.

This is a rare event for any city to consider such a large development and big questions are ahead.

“That does bring challenges with it,” Bontrager said. “Whether it’s from a services perspective – how do we provide water and sewer – which is a big question that’s getting worked out right now. What it does to the overall transportation network and what sort of improvements will be necessary over time? Those are all things that are being considered now.”

Not all of the proposed development is within Lebanon city limits, yet. An annexation ordinance is going through simultaneously. As the development moves forward, if approved, the planning commission and the Lebanon City Council will get to approve each development or subdistrict projects.

“What will happen is that they will come in, basically, by section and come in with what is called a preliminary plan,” Bontrager said. “At that time, there will be more detail. You’ll see road layouts, lot layouts, and those sorts of things.”

He added that these sections will probably be revealed in sections of 100 to 200 acres at a time. Although he doesn’t know for sure, Bontrager expects the first planned section to be presented this summer by Henke and construction to start before the end of the year. It will be 2021 before anything will be visible. The golf course, clubhouse and houses will likely be in the first wave of development.

Bontrager said overall this is a positive event for the city.

“It’s telling us there is demand in this area for people to live, people to shop and employers to come to this area,” he said. “It’s a huge investment on the developer’s part. So he definitely sees that there is an opportunity here in Lebanon over the long term.”

The council is expected to accept public comment at the Feb. 10 meeting which begins at 7:15 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall.

Gus Pearcy writes for The Lebanon Reporter.

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