Early plans for land differ: Developer wants houses while city proposes park

A developer has asked to build homes on a piece of farmland Greenwood has been eying for a new park.

Nearly 37 acres of farmland, east of U.S. 31 between Stop 18 and Worthsville roads, remained undeveloped as neighborhoods sprung up around it in the past. Now, with the property surrounded on all sides by neighborhoods, both the city and a developer have their eyes on the land.

The city is interested in turning the property into a neighborhood park. A developer wants to bring in about 130 single-story homes targeted to seniors.

Earlier this week, the Greenwood City Council unanimously approved giving the Greenwood Parks and Recreation Board the permission to pursue purchasing the property, a step required before any negotiations between the park board and the developer can begin.

However, last week, Westport Homes requested that the property be rezoned from agriculture to residential use.

The Greenwood parks department remains interested in the property and plans to reach out to the owner to discuss if there is an interest in selling to the city, parks director Rob Taggart said. Because of a lack of park space in that area of the city and the property’s location in between neighborhoods, the land would be a prime spot for a park that, if developed, would be one of the largest in Greenwood, city officials said.

In August, the plan commission is also being asked to consider rezoning the property, which is currently zoned for agricultural use. The plan commission would make a recommendation about the rezoning request, and the city council would make the final decision.

The zoning the developer has asked for is also a concern for the city council who said that could lower the value of properties nearby. About three-quarters of the neighborhoods surrounding the property have that zoning, while the remainder are zoned to require larger lot sizes.

The difference between the two categories is significant, council members said.

Under the zoning requested, a developer can build duplexes and apartments in addition to houses. That zoning also allows for smaller homes built on smaller lots, Greenwood Planning Director Bill Peeples said.

Council members Bruce Armstrong and Mike Campbell both said they would not approve the rezoning request for the property, citing concerns that doing so would risk lowering the value of homes in nearby neighborhoods. However, they would support a rezoning request that would require larger lots.

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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.