A second development was turned down for a piece of property on the southeast side of Greenwood that city officials have been looking at for a new park.
The proposed Westport Homes neighborhood would have included 147 townhomes, but developers also offered to donate 16 acres of land for a city park.
The Greenwood City Council voted 7-2 against the rezoning, with council members citing concerns about the density of the proposed neighborhood and whether townhomes were an appropriate development for the area, which is primarily single-family housing. Council members Chuck Landon and Ezra Hill voted in favor of the rezoning.
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The 40-acre site east of U.S. 31 and between Stop 18 and Worthsville roads also has been looked at by the parks department to purchase for development of a new park, since it is bordered by neighborhoods and the closest developed park is more than a mile away and on the other side of U.S. 31. Greenwood’s comprehensive plan, which designates how the city would ideally like certain properties to develop, has the area listed as future park space.
Under the proposal to the city asking to rezone the agricultural property to allow for residential development, the neighborhood was planned for the northwest half of the property, with about 16 acres of land on the southeast side of the property to be donated to the city for a park. Westport Homes also offered to pay $50,000 for a study to determine what amenities the public would want at the park. The donation of park land and payment for the study could have offset a portion of the fees developers are normally required to pay to support park development.
A high-density project, such as this one that would have placed nearly 150 homes in a 24-acre area, is not the type of development the city should be seeking, city council member Brent Corey said.
About 50 residents came to the council meeting earlier this week in opposition to the project, saying they were worried that the development would lower their property values and would be an eyesore that would stand out from other nearby neighborhoods.
David Strange, the president of the homeowners association for Southern Green, located west of the proposed Westport Homes site, said 97 percent of the neighborhood’s residents signed a petition in opposition to the project.
The best use for the land would be for the entire property to be a city park or for the area to be developed as high-quality, single-family homes, Strange said.
Another concern is whether the townhomes would sell for high enough amounts to not have a negative impact on the property values of surrounding homes, Strange said.
The townhomes are planned to have an average sales price of $225,000, which is higher than the recent average sales prices of homes in all of the surrounding neighborhoods, Westport Homes representative Brian Tuohy said. The high-quality homes and location next to a park will justify selling at those prices, he said.
This is the second time the city council has voted down a neighborhood that Westport Homes has proposed building at this site. In August, the council voted against a proposed rezoning where Westport Homes would have built a 130-home neighborhood limited to residents age 55 and older. At the time, council members expressed concern about whether that development was appropriate for the area and whether the land would instead be a good location for a city park.
Concerns residents expressed in August about wanting a park at this site is why Westport Homes chose to include the donation of park land in its second proposal, Tuohy said. Westport Homes also agreed to make several changes to its project, including adding additional parking lots and sidewalks inside the neighborhood and putting additional brick on the sides of the buildings on the edge of the property.
Trading the rezoning in exchange for the donation of park land to the city would have been a good deal, Landon said.
The city would have difficulty finding the funds to purchase the entire property, he said.