Aurora PUD amendment sparks public concern at Advisory Plan Commission meeting
By Anna Skinner
The Aurora Planned Unit Development amendment held its public hearing in October, but due to increased public concern, the Advisory Plan Commission held an additional public comment at its Dec. 5 meeting.
Residents wearing neon yellow ‘Aurora Hurts Homeowners’ shirts lined the aisle behind the city hall podium to voice concerns about possible industrial development proposed for the southwest of Ind. 38 and Grassy Branch Road.
Aurora was originally approved in 2006, but no construction has been completed. The development appeared again before the council this year with an amendment to the PUD, which is being presented as a new ordinance due to the changes.
The development includes a business park, a commercial area, a residential area and various districts designed for specific uses consisting of 317 acres.
Russell Brown, an attorney with Clark Quinn Moses Scott and Grahn, presented the most recent changes to the APC and the public, outlining signage and height requirements, architectural standards and more. Also, there were 694 attached single family units approved in 2006, and the amendment would change that to 250 attached and detached single family units.
“We believe while there has been an expansion of the commerce park in this amendment, we attempted to do so in a thoughtful way,” Brown said. “We believe the changes we’ve worked on with staff and stakeholders during the past two months made this a better ordinance.”
First to speak against the development was Rory O’Bryan, an attorney who represents the Responsible Growth Alliance of Westfield.
“Aurora 2016 is not a planned development,” he said. “It’s unplanned. So if someone comes along, (they) can build whatever they want. This is land speculation, not land planning. It does not propose harmonious uses or land compatibility.”
Other speakers included residents who live near the area.
“Some of those more appealing places like an office park or medical offices or engineering offices will not be put in because there’s nothing to say right next door there won’t be an industrial center,” Westfield resident Aaron Rice said. “Something else to consider as well is the future people coming. We don’t want to be perceived as an industrial city. We would like to change that view of people and become more of what you’ve talked about, like sports or an athletic community, and not industrial.”
Sarah Starost, a relator in the area, spoke on the effect on property values.
“There’s a negative impact on property values for those who are potential property owners going to build as well as existing property owners there now,” Starost said. “As a realtor, it is my job to make sure a buyer makes a good investment, and I believe there are many other neighborhoods in Westfield that would be a much better investment for a client.”
A vote was not made at the plan commission public comment session.