Westfield lots in danger of shrinking side yards

 A proposal will change the setbacks of 30 lots within the Water’s Edge Subdivision from six feet to five feet side yards. (Submitted plan)

A proposal will change the setbacks of 30 lots within the Water’s Edge Subdivision from six feet to five feet side yards. (Submitted plan)

By Navar Watson

Thirty lots within the Water’s Edge Subdivision in Westfield are at risk of losing a foot of their six-foot side yards due to a proposed amendment by M/I Homes of Indiana, LP.

The Springmill Trails PUD Amendment, which received a public hearing at the Westfield Advisory Plan Commission meeting Aug. 18, asks to allow five-foot side yard setbacks instead of the six-foot side yard setbacks already required.

Authorizing this request would allow for the 30 affected lots to accommodate three-car garages, thus giving the market what it wants and increasing re-sale value, Mark Connor of M/I said.

Many Water’s Edge residents and lot owners, who previously signed an agreement with M/I that they would have six-foot side yards, opposed the request.

Resident Joe Ryan, who has a vacant lot next door to his, said “it was in good faith and trust” when he bought a lot with M/I. He and his wife are happy with their home but are now concerned about neighbors living closer than originally promised.

“It’s affected my faith in M/I personally to try to change things after the fact,” Ryan said.

Twelve of the 30 affected lots lie side-by-side at the north end of the neighborhood. Resident Ron Ellis said shrinking down these lots would “detract from the design” of the subdivision, since other homes follow the six-foot side yard requirement.

“You’re changing the look and feel of the whole neighborhood,” Ellis said.

Additionally, APC President Ken Kingshill said giving all of the back lots three-car garages could add “monotony” to the neighborhood.

The existing homes in Water’s Edge vary between two- and three-car garages, Kingshill said. It’s not a “cookie cutter neighborhood,” and unifying the back 12 lots could hinder its uniqueness.

City Councilor Steve Hoover suggested that M/I Homes hold a separate meeting with members of the neighborhood to discuss concerns and a possible compromise before the APC’s next meeting Sept 2.

“I still would like to have a buy-in from the majority of the neighbors up there before we consider something like (this),” Hoover said, adding he would have “mixed feelings” if he were a resident.

Other items of business at the meeting included:

161st Street and Springmill NE Quadrant PUD

What it is: Kroger Limited Partnership requests a change in zoning of about 7.5 acres.

What it means: The proposal for the Kroger grocery store and fueling station on 161st Street includes a new 10 gas pump center that would be built north of the current four-pump fuel station, which will be demolished.

What happened: The APC agreed to forward the proposal to the city council with a positive recommendation. The council will vote on it at their Sept. 8 meeting.

Spring Mill Station SEC PUD

What it is: Cooperstown Partners, LLC, requests a change in zoning of about 7.7 acres.

What it means: The proposal includes the establishment of a neighborhood center, consisting of a CVS/pharmacy building, a retail building and a medical office building. It also includes pedestrian trails and a train car with outdoor seating.

What happened: The proposal received a public hearing. Petitioner Jim Adams, a partner with Cooperstown, addressed previous traffic concerns surrounding the new facilities. The APC will vote on the zoning request at its Sept. 2 meeting.