Westfield City Council divided during Drexler Woods proposal introduction

By Anna Skinner

The Drexler Woods Planned Unit Development was introduced to the city council at its Nov. 14 meeting, but two of the five present councilors voted to table the proposal.

The concept plan of the proposed Drexler Woods. (Submitted image)

The concept plan of the proposed Drexler Woods.
(Submitted image)

The proposal sought to change the zoning of approximately 265 acres northwest of Grand Park to allow for a local business area, multi-family attached homes and, the largest section, an age-restricted active adult community.

A part of the plan intersects with Grand Park’s Master Plan area, with suggestions of sports residential. The proposal suggested the construction of a roundabout in the Grand Park Master Plan to better connect 191st and 193rd streets and Springmill and Horton roads.

Paul Rioux, president of Platinum Properties which developed Countryside, Maple Villas and more throughout Westfield, was represented by Jim Shinaver with Nelson and Frankenberger.

Although the proposal was only an introduction to the council and no vote was supposed to be taken, Councilor Joe Edwards made a motion to table the proposal until early next year.

“I suggest we table the introduction until the city council has a chance to meet with school people and some other people to see how our development should flow a little better,” he said. “I am not opposed to this development, but as I read the (Grand Park Master Plan) the northwestern agricultural section was to be preserved. If this is put in, there would be one farm between the township line and this project. That being said, the (Grand Park Master Plan) said in between existing commodity operations there’s supposed to be one acre.”

Councilor Cindy Spoljaric agreed with Edwards on his motion to table the introduction.

“I agree with Joe wholeheartedly,” Spoljaric said. “We’ve been hearing an awful lot from the community, and I think we need to get our thoughts wrapped around that before we start moving ahead with these large projects.”

However, councilors Steve Hoover, Chuck Lehman, Jim Ake and Robert Horkay didn’t believe the proposal needed to be tabled.

“Ages 55 and over are not going to have any negative effect on schools,” Hoover said. “Most likely, it would have a positive effect on the schools. The other reason I would like to consider this is it does accomplish a lot of the goals we had for Grand Park, which aligns some of our roadways up there which currently are not very efficient.”

Ake suggested that part of the proposal, which spanned across a designated sports residential area in Grand Park, could include sports housing for athletes visiting Westfield for the season.

“(An age restricted active adult community) is something I don’t think we have represented in the community, at least not to a significant degree,” Horkay added.

Lehman, the president of the council, agreed that tabling the proposal would not be necessary, but he did warn Rioux and Shinaver to pay attention to the concerns expressed by Edwards and Spoljaric.

“It will move ahead, but please be considerate of what you’ve heard here,” Lehman told them.

After the meeting, Rioux said that reaction from the council wasn’t unexpected.

“I call this a plan with a purpose,” he said. “We are not after a typical subdivision, which I have done many of. This one has a Grand Park Master Plan incorporated with an active adult community, and I think it’s different than everything they’ve seen. I understand the council has seen a lot of projects, but I think when they see details of this, it’s not a business-as-usual approach.”

A public hearing before the Advisory Plan Commission regarding Drexler Woods will be 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at city hall, 130 Penn St.