Westfield lots in danger of shrinking side yards
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.