Duane O’Neal Greenwood City Council candidate

What are the top 3 issues facing Greenwood, and how would you address them?

Top issue is promoting responsible residential and commercial development. City council is responsible for final say in rezoning but should not initiate rezoning of private property. City has master and concept plans for property, and those should be given great weight.

Second issue is infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, parks and sanitation. They need to be maintained and enhanced, and need a schedule so that residents know when to expect their roads and sidewalks repaired and for parks to expand to serve the growing population. Distressed the city allowed the parks impact fee to expire without replacement until 2016 and estimates that close to $500,000 will go uncollected due to oversight. Called it a sad circumstance that the council should be more proactive in.

Third issue is responsible government and oversight. Rezoning of private property is a jaw-dropping example of government intrusion into private property vested rights. Shook his head at the proposal. The entire council embraced this tactic. “I would not.”

Is revitalizing downtown Greenwood a top priority? And if so, what should be done? And how should it be paid for?

Revitalizing is a priority. Three endeavors: fa├žade for downtown buildings through state grant, traffic study that will be starting and planning and conceptual study for what types of uses we want in downtown areas. Wants the commercial and residential sides to be mutually supportive. Indianapolis has done a remarkable job of promoting residential uses in downtown, would like to see that happen in downtown Greenwood. City dollars would have to pay for roadwork and infrastructure, with TIF districts. Those who will benefit should bear a degree of the cost, and the costs should also be spread across the entire tax base.

What is your vision for the new interchange on I-65 at Worthsville Road? Should the city limit the type of development that can be built there? What would you want to limit?

City already has a land-use plan for that area, which has been approved, and everyone can go see what is planned for the interchange on the city’s website. The controversy started with the Circle K proposal. On that side of the interstate, only one corner remains to be developed. The land use plan suggests commercial development and a use that promotes the general area of residential, keeping in mind it is an interstate interchange.

When considering proposals, would look at the plan and see if it is compatible with existing land use plan, as plan commission just did with the proposal for the apartment complex. Was given a negative recommendation and the developer has since withdrawn the proposal.

Recently, the city has proposed changes to the zoning on land that was already approved for certain types of development, including rezoning it to agricultural use or to have less dense neighborhoods built. Do you support those proposals? Why or why not?

Has practiced land use law as an attorney for 30 years. Other than classifying land when it is initially brought into a city, has never known a city council to do this. Called the attempt to rezone land egregious. Landowners have spent thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars on land, marketing, etc. Now spending more money to defend the zoning that they already have. If effort wasn’t illegal, it was at least highly inappropriate.

In the past, money collected in tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts in Greenwood has been spent on road projects, the new I-65 interchange and the new aquatic center. Do you believe TIF money has been spent appropriately? Why or why not?

Could debate the aquatic center to a degree, but the other projects are certainly appropriate uses, specifically the Interstate 65 interchange. Purpose of TIF is to create an atmosphere where businesses want to locate. Debate on whether TIF is a loss of revenue to schools, and schools don’t get the increased value once TIFs are created, but TIFs also sunset in 25 years. Added value that has been created as a result of the improvements and development will benefit schools eventually.

Do you support the creation of a new TIF district along State Road 135, between Stones Crossing and Whiteland roads? Why or why not?

Yes. That is an appropriate area where a TIF should be created, before any development. That money will build up rural county roads and encourage businesses to move into that area, and businesses will ultimately create more tax revenue than residential property will, and all will benefit.

How would you or do you interact with the public, encourage residents to talk about issues they are concerned about and help them feel welcome addressing the city council at a meeting?

Strongly promotes individual citizen participation in all activities of government. For more than 30 years, represented remonstrators at zoning and council meetings across the state. “My heart is in the ability of the local property owners to have a say in how government should govern them.” Is very much in support of the Greenwood population making known their wishes and desires to the people they have elected, and the elected people taking that into strong account.