Greenwood City Council on Monday approved a rezoning application for a potential apartment complex just east of Greenwood Airport despite traffic problems from nearby residents.
City Council voted 7-2 Monday night to approve a request by The Garrett Companies, a Greenwood-based real estate developer, to rezone approximately 16 acres of land at 374 N. Emerson Avenue from industrial zoning to multi-unit residential complex for an apartment complex offered on the site. Council members Bradley Pendleton and Michael Williams voted against the proposal.
The planning commission had previously issued a unanimous favorable recommendation for the rezoning earlier this month.
Plans for the apartment complex, dubbed Oliver Springs, indicate that it would consist of 22 two-story apartment buildings and a one-story clubhouse. The community would also include a swimming pool, a dog park, a mail kiosk, a small maintenance building, a trash compactor enclosure, a building with a dog wash and a storm water retention area, according to the documents. from the city.
There would be 236 units with attached garages at a density of less than 15 units per acre in the complex, Ken Kozio, a representative for The Garrett Companies, told the plan commission on July 11.
This is the second rezoning application the planning commission has seen for an apartment complex on this site in the last eight months. The first proposal, by Indianapolis-based Muesing Management Company, failed with a 5-3 vote, with one member absent, in the city council vote in December.
Last week, several residents of the Maple Grove housing estate spoke out against the latest proposal in a public hearing at the planning commission meeting. Residents told the commission there was already too much traffic on Emerson Avenue and the apartments would make the situation worse. Others expressed concerns about the apartments’ proximity to their homes and criticized the current design of Emerson Avenue.
On Monday, many residents who spoke at the planning commission hearing also came to the city council meeting to discuss the proposal, and several residents raised the issue of traffic.
Dwight Howard, who lives south of the site, was concerned about traffic, saying it was a public safety issue for those lining Emerson Avenue. While the road was designed to handle large amounts of traffic, Howard claimed the city’s decision to place medians in the center lane of Emerson Avenue undermined the road’s ability to handle large amounts of traffic. . Indeed, the city has allowed more development along Emerson Avenue, increasing the number of vehicles, he said.
Emerson Avenue was converted from a two-lane road to five-lane road in 2003 and 2018, the city rebuilt the road to add grass and trees in the median, as well as new traffic lights, decorative street lighting, and a 10-foot pathway.
Howard also said that Emerson Avenue originally had no median and that city work in 2018 “damaged” the city’s original design of the road.
“The City of Greenwood has rapidly increased daily vehicle commitments to North Emerson Avenue,” Howard said.
R. Lee Money, an attorney representing the property owner and former chairman of the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission, told council he was confident the city’s intention to prepare Emerson Avenue for more development had been accomplished with the improvements to 2003 and 2018. At the time of the first improvement, the RDC was still new and did not have enough resources to pay for the work which was finally completed in 2018, Money said.
“Quite frankly, I’ll tell you, it was a cost item at the time,” Money said. “I understand that the city later, when funds were available, determined that it was actually safer to put the grass median and limited turns on Emerson Avenue.”
The road is designed to do exactly what it does now, Money said. Gabe Nelson, the city’s planning director, later concurred with this assessment.
Other residents were concerned about the location of buildings in the complex and how it would affect their properties. Resident Melissa Starnes feared the barrier between the housing estate and the compound would protect her home.
“Where is it going to start with the apartments because my garden is small, and I don’t want to live around apartments. That’s why I chose this (area),” she said .
Council member David Hopper proposed an amendment to ban the use of vinyl siding on the property, which the developer was already not planning to use.
Council Member Michael Williams requested a commitment to place a berm between the apartment complex and Maple Grove.
After discussing what the berm should look like, council decided to require fencing around the development, a 40 foot buffer zone and an eight foot berm. The amendments for the berm and the ban on vinyl siding were passed unanimously.
Councilman Brad Pendleton reiterated his concerns about public safety personnel and said he did not understand why council should add population to the city when public safety personnel were not increasing not at the same pace, he said.
In other CompanyCity Council approved $4.9 million in tax relief for two speculative warehouses in Greenwood’s Worthsville Road corridor.
Becknell Industrial plans to develop two speculative industrial buildings of approximately 150,000 square feet on a 30-acre site located on Worthsville Road, east of Endress-Hauser and the train tracks. The developer plans to invest $40.2 million, including the land, in the project and is seeking about $4.9 million in two property tax reductions over 10 years, according to city documents.
The tax breaks were broken down by building and were requested last month.
At least 30 jobs would be created through the project and savings from the reduction would be passed on from Becknell to the eventual tenant. About $5.7 million in taxes would be paid over the life of the abatement, according to city documents.
The buildings will be similar in size and character to the speculative buildings Becknell has constructed in the city’s Southtech Industrial Park, where the developer has leased two buildings to Milwaukee Tool and NT Supply. They will also be marketed to light manufacturing companies, with an expected construction start date of May 2023, according to city documents.
No one spoke out against the proposed tax relief on Monday, however, at two previous city council meetings, Greenwood resident Randy Goodin, who lives along Worthsville Road, expressed concerns about increased industrial development on Worthsville Rd.
The board ultimately voted in favor of granting the tax breaks in two 6-3 votes. Council member Ron Bates, along with Pendleton and Williams, voted against the tax breaks.