Council delays housing project

For the first time in two years, a new subdivision has been proposed in Bargersville, but it hasn’t been approved yet.

Duke Homes wants to turn 256 acres of farmland into a 220- to 300-home subdivision. The development, west of Morgantown Road and just south of County Road 144, would be the first new subdivision for the town since Shinelight Meadows in 2013.

But this week, the town council denied Duke’s request to rezone the land from agriculture to residential zoning. The top concerns are the impact of increased traffic on Morgantown Road, lack of sufficient entrances, and last-minute changes to the development plans.

In the coming months, Duke can alter the plans to address the concerns and come back before the town council.

“We’re not against it,” said Ken Zumstein, president of the Bargersville Town Council. “The developer just needs to work on a few more things. We need some additional information.”

Town officials have said for the past few years that existing subdivisions were starting to fill up, and they were expecting new neighborhoods to be developed in the near future. The council also is considering a 38-home, third phase of Kerrington Proper Estates on Whiteland Road. And two developers have recently expressed interest in Morningside, a development intended for the north end of Bargersville that stalled in the sluggish economy.

Aberdeen, the newly proposed Duke development, is the biggest residential development ever to be proposed for Bargersville, Zumstein said. Families living in the new homes would send their children to Center Grove schools.

Town officials said they want to be sure concerns such as traffic are considered before the development is built.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure if somebody promises something, they get it all into a recorded commitment so our community is protected,” Zumstein said. “We just want to make sure the development is a good fit for Bargersville.”

For instance, the plans included only one entrance, which could present a safety hazard for a development of this size. A Bargersville zoning ordinance requires all residential developments with 50 or more lots to have at least two entrances to allow access for fire trucks, Zumstein said.

The council was worried about the impact of added traffic on Morgantown Road. They requested a traffic study be done on the impact on Morgantown Road from the subdivision to the County Road 144 intersection.

Council members also wanted more information about the development.

For example, the description of the development in the rezoning request called for 220 homes.

At the meeting, Duke Homes was requesting approval to build a maximum of 300 homes, Zumstein said.

The town council denied the rezoning request with a vote of 3-0, with Zumstein, Rowana Umbarger and Jim Beck voting. Council members Gayle Allard and Bruce Morris were absent.

Duke Homes will be able to reapply for rezoning in September.