City rejects rental home proposal

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Greenfield officials rejected plans for a rental home community in the southwest corner of Interstate 70 and Blue Road.

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GREENFIELD – Officials rejected measures a developer was hoping to get for a rental home community proposed for the city’s north side.

AMH Development, the new-construction arm of real estate investment trust American Homes 4 Rent, wanted to develop 85 lots for single-family rental homes on nearly 30 acres in the southwest corner of Interstate 70 and Blue Road. The firm and the owners of the undeveloped land – sisters Beth Willard, Barbara Drudge and Deborah Watson – sought the site’s annexation into the city for the development.

Due to a requirement in Indiana annexation law regarding the continuity of boundaries, the site would’ve needed to have been split into two separate annexations performed one after the other.

Greenfield City Council’s agenda for its meeting last week included a resolution regarding adopting a fiscal plan for the first proposed annexation and an ordinance regarding changing and extending the city’s corporate boundaries.

When Mayor Chuck Fewell said during the meeting that he’d entertain a motion on the fiscal plan resolution, council members responded with silence, and the measure died for lack of a motion. The ordinance met the same fate.

City Council President Dan Riley told the Daily Reporter that he’d love to see that property developed as a part of the city, but that he opposed the proposed annexation for the rental community because there was no way to prevent the rental homes from being sold off to different individual owners.

That concern had lingered among city officials ever since the proposal was first publicly discussed in April, with leaders worried the community could end up with a hodgepodge of different owners renting the properties out and making it difficult to enforce maintenance standards.

“We have plenty of rentals and we have nothing against rentals, but they have to be done properly in a way that’s not a detriment to neighbors,” Riley said.

AMH Development is also pursuing a build-for-rent community of 144 single-family homes on nearly 60 acres near the southwest corner of CR 700W and CR 500N. The Hancock County Area Plan Commission continued its consideration of a rezone requested for the development to its meeting later this month.