Firm pitches two developments for town

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One of two developments a Carmel firm is proposing for McCordsville consists of 11 apartment buildings in two- and four-story configurations with a maximum of 256 units, as well as a clubhouse and pool.

McCORDSVILLE – An area developer is proposing projects on sites flanking Mt. Comfort Road consisting of over 400 residences as well as commercial lots.

Carmel-based Cityscape Residential is eyeing the developments east and west of Mt. Comfort Road south of CR 600N in McCordsville.

On about 27 acres at the southwest corner of the two roads would be Broadacre – a traditional suburban apartment community behind a to-be-determined amount of commercial outlots along Mt. Comfort Road. There would be 11 apartment buildings in two- and four-story configurations with a maximum of 256 units, as well as a clubhouse and pool.

Across from Broadacre, on about 30 acres at the southeast corner of CR 600N and Short Road, would be Parkfield – 166 single-story townhomes for rent. There would be a maximum of eight attached units per building and each unit would have its own two-car garage. The community would have a clubhouse and pool as well.

Both sites are undeveloped land. The current zoning designation for the proposed Broadacre site is commercial, while the proposed Parkfield site is industrial. Ryan Crum, McCordsville assistant town manager – planning and development, noted at a plan commission meeting last week that the town’s comprehensive plan envisions industrial uses for the area.

“As we continue to develop plans and think about our proper mix of land uses, we’ve kind of changed that thinking,” Crum said. “So this is not going to be consistent with our comprehensive plan, but it is going to be consistent with a lot of the other planning work that has been done.”

Crum added the comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 2011 and is due for an update next year, which will likely reflect the change in thinking toward the area.

Brian Tuohy, a lawyer representing Cityscape Residential, said the commercial part of the Broadacre proposal would create a commercial node that would provide services to residential neighbors to the east and west.

“I think this approval would allow for an appropriate transition from the industrial uses to some residential uses,” Tuohy said.

Robert Rosebrock lives just east of the proposed Parkfield site and just west of where Cincinnati-based Al. Neyer is developing a 1-million-square-foot warehouse. He said while he’s not thrilled with living near large industrial buildings, he favors that long-range vision over one pushing residential.

“We came to the conclusion that we’d actually prefer to build a house and have industrial neighbors as opposed to having residential properties in close proximity to us,” he said, noting the larger setbacks that are required for industrial developments as opposed to residential ones.

Cityscape Residential committed to increasing mounding from 3 feet to 4 feet and bolstered landscaping near Rosebrock’s home.

Tom Strayer, a plan commission member and president of the town council, said he and fellow council members were excited to learn of the proposal, seeing it as a cushion between residential and industrial developments in the area.

“We felt this was the perfect buffer development,” Strayer said.

He also recalled sentiments from residents of the Woodhaven neighborhood to the north of the Parkfield proposal calling for something other than an industrial development on the site. Residents there were strongly opposed to the Al. Neyer development. Council members who supported the annexation for that said they felt compelled to do so, as the developer could have likely accomplished the project through the county, leaving the town with no tax revenue from or influence over the development.

Brianne Schneckenberger is a member of the plan commission and a Woodhaven resident.

“So I have heard a lot of things over the years about what we want there,” she said of the site proposed for Parkfield, “and I can’t speak for all of Woodhaven, but I do feel like this is a compromise for Woodhaven.”

The plan commission gave a favorable recommendation to the town council to rezone the sites to a planned unit development, which would establish development standards specific to the projects. The part of the Broadacre site eyed for commercial uses would retain the existing commercial zoning designation, however.

“We envision the commercial site developing as probably outlots, maybe strip center retail,” Crum said. “…It’s not going to be big-box items, there’s not enough space, frankly, for big-box retail. This is going to be smaller, outlot development or inline retail, commercial services, things like that.”