Support sought for local plan

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Greencastle residents who signed a petition supporting the construction of a professional office building at the entrance to their Tennessee Street neighborhood may be asked to do a little more.

At Monday night's meeting of the Greencastle Plan Commission, officials with Carpenter real estate company asked the board to consider rezoning a 1.25-acre empty lot, at the intersection of State Road 240 and Tennessee Street, from residential to Professional Business district (PB).

If approved, the rezone would make it possible for Carpenter to construct an office building to house its operations, plus the addition of another business.

After listening to a presentation by the attorney representing the project, board members expressed their desire to see a larger area of the neighborhood included in the rezone request.

The area surrounding the lot in question is dominated by single-family homes. It is bordered generally by Zinc Mill Road on the east, South Street on the south, Ind. 240 on the north and Central Street on the west.

Nearly all the seats at city hall Monday night were filled with residents interested in the project, several of whom had signed a petition supporting the real estate company's request.

Board members talked about wanting to avoid "spot zoning" which has been problematic in some cities and has the potential for being illegal in some cases.

Board member Bill Hamm said he believes the Ind. 240 corridor is similar to Indianapolis Road which has become a mix of private residences and businesses.

After hearing the concerns, city attorney Laurie Robertson-Hardwick suggested that Carpenter go back to the same residents whose names appeared on the petition and ask them to support having their own properties rezoned to PB as well.

Carpenter's attorney, Andy Kult of Danville, told the board that his client would in fact be willing to seek support of the residents to have their properties rezoned before returning to the plan commission's May meeting.

According to drawings, the building would be single story, have a brick exterior and would face Ind. 240. The real estate company would be confined to the west side of the building and the east side would be leased to another business, officials said.

In other business, there was a request for approval of the preliminary plat, or blueprint, of the Sgt. Cunningham property on Fillmore Road, just north of Lear Corporation and DBX east of Greencastle.

Also known as Enterprise I, the property is divided into two developable lots -- one approximately 4.85 acres in size and the other almost twice that size.

The site has received city approval for several variances in the last year and has water hook-up already in place. Sewer lines have yet to be extended.

On Monday, the plan commission voted unanimously to approve the preliminary plat as presented by engineer Garth Hughes.

Next month, the city's Redevelopment Commission is scheduled to talk about that same property and the potential for constructing a building with hopes of attracting a potential tenant. Several companies have expressed interest in the site in recent years, but no deals were ever reached.

The plan commission meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at city hall.

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