Arbor Homes lawsuit settled

A lawsuit filed by a homebuilder against Greenwood has been settled with the city agreeing to not require the developer to follow many of the new home construction standards in two neighborhoods.

Arbor Homes, a central Indiana homebuilder, along with the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis and the Indiana Builders Association, filed a lawsuit in 2016, saying stricter home construction rules the city put in place in 2015 would drive up prices of homes, making them too expensive for buyers looking for affordable homes, eliminating some of the floor plans the developer had offered. Another concern was that the requirements could make some lots unbuildable due to the standards and existing requirements that similar homes are separated in neighborhoods.

When the lawsuit was filed, Arbor Homes was halfway through building homes in its Briarstone neighborhood and was in the planning stages for homes in its Cherry Tree Walk subdivision.

City officials described the additional rules created in 2015 — requirements such as specifying construction materials, roof pitches or steepness, and decorative elements — as being necessary to bring higher quality and higher-priced homes to the city.

Both sides agreed to a settlement earlier this month. A Johnson County judge had granted a preliminary injunction in November that allowed Arbor Homes to move forward with construction of homes in the Briarstone neighborhood.

Arbor Homes will not have to follow the new requirements for any homes while finishing out the Briarstone subdivision, and the city has agreed to waive some of the new requirements for homes built in the Cherry Tree Walk subdivision, as part of a settlement agreement.

The Briarstone neighborhood, located on the west side of South Emerson Avenue, between Pushville and Worthsville roads, has about 90 homes remaining to be built. Home construction has not started yet at Cherry Tree Walk, but plans call for nearly 300 homes on 150 acres south of the intersection of Honey Creek and Cutsinger roads.

Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers declined to comment on why the city specifically agreed to the settlement, which gave Arbor Homes much of what it had requested, but said that it is always better and less costly to work out an agreement outside of court when possible.

“We are excited we could come to agreement outside of the court system,” said Steve Hatchel, Arbor Home’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Hatchel doesn’t expect the legal dispute to be an impediment to Arbor Homes developing further neighborhoods in Greenwood.

“We have always done a lot of business in Greenwood and Johnson County and certainly did not want to see that to come to an end,” Hatchel said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.