GREENFIELD – Two office buildings are planned just east of Hancock Regional Hospital, one of which for a dental practice and the other for a yet-to-be-determined occupant.

The projects are eyed on undeveloped land off Swope Street’s east side between CrownPointe Senior Living and Autumn Place Senior Condominiums. Greenfield-based Greenwalt Development is asking city officials to rezone the approximately 2-acre site of what’s currently mostly woods from a residential classification to a commercial one.

Aaron Greenwalt, general counsel and business development for Greenwalt Development, said the company sold the north half of the property to a dental practice planning a one-story building of about 8,000 square feet. He added he could not yet disclose who the purchaser is.

Greenwalt Development, which still owns the southern half of the property, is planning another one-story building of about 6,000 to 8,000 square feet. Greenwalt said a user has yet to be secured.

Another developer pursued an apartment complex on the site in 2020, but was denied tax credits from the state needed to help fund the project.

The Greenfield Plan Commission voted 8-0 this week to give the requested rezone a favorable recommendation to Greenfield City Council. Commission member Mike Terry recused himself from the discussion and vote, as he worked on the project in his profession as a landscape architect.

Joanie Fitzwater, Greenfield planning director, noted at the meeting the several criteria state law provides for local governments to consider when changing a zoning map. One of those prompts officials to look at the city’s comprehensive plan, which recommends commercial uses on the site in question.

“The office space does fit in that land use,” Fitzwater said.

Bob Molnar and Larry McGuire, representing Autumn Place Senior Condominiums north of the site, said during the plan commission meeting’s public hearing that they support the project but feel it seems too crowded on the site. They also expressed concerns about lighting, trees in the proposed landscape plan that can be problematic, and a desire for signage to be placed in a way that clearly directs visitors to the offices as opposed to Autumn Place.

“This project is highly acceptable compared to what was proposed a year ago,” McGuire said, referring to the three-story apartment building formerly contemplated.

Briane House, a lawyer representing Greenwalt Development, said he was confident different tree species could be chosen, that exterior lighting would be directed downward with little to no light spill, and that signage would comply with local rules.

Greenwalt Development’s plans also call for a retaining wall between the buildings’ east sides and a body of water to the east of the property. Vegetation between the wall and the water would be preserved.

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