Thursday, March 17, 2005

On March 16th, the Metropolitan Development Commission held a zoning hearing on a request from Davis Homes for a rezoning of 24.6 acres on 59th Street just south of Northwestway Park. Davis has owned the property since 2001 and considered other development plans but has determined that no option except their current intent to build 81 single family houses could be economically viable for Davis. The existing zoning is for multifamily dwellings (condos) and the rezoning request is actually a “down-zoning” meaning the density is less than for a multifamily type construction. However, the Pike Township Residents Association (PTRA), as remonstrants to the rezoning request, opposed the rezoning because relevant studies show that the price range of single family houses Davis wants to build would be expected to bring 55 new children to the Pike Schools whereas condos would be expected to bring 6. The PTRA remonstrance was built on the problems of school overcrowding, that Pike Township has one of the highest mortgage foreclosure rates in the nation, and those foreclosures are very detrimental to the tax base for the township and the county causing greater tax burden to the property tax paying residents.
Susan Blair, President of PTRA, gave a stellar presentation for the remonstrance. City-county councilors Ike Randolph (District 1) and Greg Bowes (District 7) attended the hearing and spoke in support of the remonstrance. As well, Councilors Angela Mansfield (District 2) and Lynn McWhirter (District 6), who could not attend, sent the MDC letters of opposition to the rezoning request. Davis Homes was represented by an experienced attorney who gave a strong presentation for the petitioner, but Susan and our councilors were exceedingly well prepared with statistics on real estate foreclosures in Pike and the school situation. The final vote among the 6 voting commissioners was 1 for the petitioner and 5 against the rezoning request by Davis.
This is a significant outcome for Pike residents and a benefit for our Traders Point school issues. Susan and our councilors deserve our sincere thanks. Consider sending each a note of appreciation.

As a final note on the zoning hearing: this was a first for me to witness a zoning hearing with such intensity by the petitioner and remonstrant including powerful rebuttals. It was actually riveting. Those of us Traders Point residents in attendance stood in support of the remonstrance, though without actually commenting to the commissioners ourselves. Presence at the hearing was helpful in the winning cause. The lesson is that of unity in cause – strength in numbers. Please take this lesson to heart concerning the upcoming Pike Township School Board Meetings on March 24th and April 14th.


About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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