Apartment project near I-65 dropped

A proposal to build apartments near a new Interstate 65 exit in Greenwood has been withdrawn.

After more than 50 residents signed a petition against it and a city board gave the plan a negative review, Herman and Kittle Properties pulled its proposal to rezone 29 acres along Sheek Road, near the new I-65 interchange at Worthsville Road. The development group had wanted to build an apartment complex with about 300 units.

The property is zoned R-2, which would allow about 100 homes to be built. The zoning is in line with what city officials and residents have said they would like to see in that area, with lot sizes larger than the minimum requirements. Right now, no other development is proposed for the property, which is currently undeveloped.

But opponents of the proposal are concerned the plan for apartments could come back.

A neighborhood group, Concerned Citizens of Southeast Greenwood, was formed after a gas station was approved and is now being built at Worthsville and Sheek roads, despite concerns raised by residents about traffic and safety.

For now, group president Randy Goodin is pleased that the apartment proposal has been withdrawn. But he doesn’t think the fight to stop unwanted development is done, he said.

“I feel relieved, but I’m skeptical at the same time,” Goodin said. “I really believe that someone will go through this process to have that property rezoned. Even if it’s not this developer, I think someone will look to put apartments in that area.”

Goodin and city council member Bruce Armstrong had collected more than 50 signatures on a petition against the proposal. Goodin spent Sunday collecting more signatures, even after the proposal was withdrawn. Whether it’s Herman and Kittle Properties or another developer, a company will try to rezone the property for apartments, he said.

Armstrong said he doesn’t think the proposal is dead. He anticipates the developers will revise the plans to look more appealing with the hope of giving the request to rezone a better chance at approval, he said. A denial by the city council would require a one-year waiting period before the proposal could have been brought back. Pulling the request could suggest the developer wanted to avoid the proposal failing, he said.

If Herman and Kittle decided to ask for rezoning again, it would have to start the process over and go before the plan commission again and then the city council, Armstrong said.

“I believe the request was withdrawn so the developer could go back to the plan commission with a revised plan that has a better chance to pass,” Armstrong said. “But I don’t think they can make enough improvements that would make it appealing to the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Steve Huddleston, an attorney who represents the developer, said he does not know if the developers will come back with a revised proposal to rezone the property.

On Friday, Greenwood City Council members received a letter from Huddleston formally withdrawing the request to have the property rezoned. The letter stated that the request to withdraw the proposal was simply due to the plan commission’s unfavorable recommendation on Oct. 12.

The withdrawal came after the plan commission voted 8-1 against the developer’s plans, sending an unfavorable recommendation to the city council. At least three city council members also said they were against the proposed rezoning and apartment complex.

Concerned Citizens of Southeast Greenwood, which is made up of homeowners from Copperfield South and Central Park subdivisions, spoke against the development. They were concerned it would lower property values, increase traffic and potentially increase crime in the area.

The group has been meeting every week since the city first considered the nearby gas station that brought more than 100 residents out to meetings in protest. The city couldn’t deny the gas station because the property was already zoned to allow that use. The homeowners group was formed to ensure nearby residents would have more say in development and the future of the area around the new I-65 exit.

“If I were someone that built apartments, I would probably seek that property out, too. Someone will try and get this property rezoned,” Goodin said. “So I’m checking all the agendas for all the meetings, and I’m trying to be at every one I can. I’m trying to keep this group informed and ready.”

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Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.