LAPEL, IN - A very long Planning Meeting held at the Lions Club on Main St ended with a 3-1 vote for recommending rezoning to the Council.
Adam D`Angelo presented completely re-designed plans for Pleasantview on the south-east side of Town in a 4 acre agricultural lot that backs up to homes on Central Avenue.
Earlier plans presented over the past 6 months have been met with hostility from some local residents as well as concerned citizens and planning board members due to the layout of the development and the number of variances they were asking for previously. While D`Angelo worked to redevelop those designed to be more in line with existing ordinances the planning board continued to vote against them.
Now the latest and perhaps final plan calls for 30 units (down from 60), with 15 three bedroom units, 10 two bedroom units and 5 one bedroom units.
Some units will have covered parking, some will have garages.
There will be dry retention ponds on the property, all buildings will be single story and there will be both an entrance and exit road onto the property.
The project no longer requires any variances and offers something unique in that all of the utility costs that we as home owners or renters have to pay on a monthly basis will be rolled into the rent as the project will use solar panels for electricity and Town water fed through a single meter.
D`Angelo hopes to break ground later this year and open in 2018.
Members Deb Wainscott, Tony Hewitt and Beth Honormandian voted to recommend rezoning the property from agricultural/residential to multi-family R3. Planning president Gary Shuck voted against.
The request will now go before the Town Council and there will be a public hearing at some point to discuss the matter further.
While some local home owners present at the meeting were still against this development many seemed to appreciate the changes.
Neil Stevenson from Madison County Council of Governments "commended you (D`Angelo) for making changes ... with a night and day difference".
One local resident asked if this development would fix all of the drainage on that side of Town.
Town Council President Michael Cates who was present at the meeting noted that he was working hard to find grants to fix flooding issues in Lapel.
Deb Wainscott added to D`Angelo "You have done an excellent job" in regards the planning changes.
While this meeting was taking place Town Resident and "Apartment Dweller" Paula Lee was silently protesting the resentment and distaste that some people have shown towards "transients". She wore a printed note around her neck that read.
"MY NAME IS PAULA LEE; I AM A TRANSIENT APARTMENT DWELLER WITH A POOR STUDENT. I HAVE LIVED IN MY APARTMENT FOR 7 YEARS. I HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED BY THE TOWN OF LAPEL FOR ALMOST 17 YEARS. I HAVE NO CRIMINAL HISTORY NOR DOES MY POOR STUDENT, NEITHER I NOR MY POOR STUDENT USE OR SELL DRUGS. MY CREDIT SCORE IS 767. MY BILLS ARE PAID ON TIME. I AM A WORKING SINGLE MOTHER RAISING A POOR STUDENT WITH 2 LEARNING DISABILITIES IN THE LAPEL SCHOOL SYSTEM, A POOR STUDENT WHO IS THE CAPTAIN OF THE FOOTBALL TEAM AND THE WRESTLING TEAM. WE LIVE IN AN APARTMENT AND ACCORDING TO SOME PEOPLE WE ARE NOT WELCOME HERE BECAUSE WE LIVE IN AN APARTMENT"
Editor's Note: In previous meetings, a number of people have commented that apartments bring crime, drugs and unruly influences to Town. We already have several apartments in the Town of Lapel including Meadow View which currently has 21 apartments with 10 more being built at this time. We are unaware of a huge crime spike in that neighborhood or any of the other problems mentioned above.
Also during the same meeting the Giving Hope Foundation presented more information about their organization and their plans for a 20 to 40 acre development south of SR38 to assist families and children with disabilities.
Finally, WEIHE Construction also addressed the planning committee about plans for a development along SR13 south of Trinity Life Center (previous article).
Alan Small of WEIHE Construction explained their plans for developing about 6-8 acres of a 20-acre parcel. A repair shop and storage yard for their vehicles and materials would exist on 4 acres behind an existing house and a further few acres that could be redeveloped as commercial. The remainder of the property (about 12 acres) would be farmed, or used later on for expansion.
There would be a mound and fencing or trees around the yard to act as a buffer.
Michael Cates asked how this development would benefit the Town of Lapel.
Small commented that aside from property taxes they currently pay about $150,000 a year in "yellow CAT iron" taxes a reference to all of the CAT equipment they own. He believed that the Town of Lapel would likely see an increase in taxes of around $100,000 per year from WEIHE locating to Lapel.
WEIHE currently employs 300 people in Central Indiana, and would likely have up to 20 people working at the yard with 5 of those employees being new hires.
To the best of our knowledge no decision was made on this development. The Planning Board wanted to discuss long term plans for that area. We do expect that the rezone request from agricultural to light industrial would be approved and the development to take place sometime later in the year.