GREENFIELD — Despite being approved in April 2023, many members of the community came to voice their concerns on an addition of a semi trailer parking lot Thursday night.

A public hearing of a conditional use of approval for the parking lot on the northwest corner of N. Broadway Street and W. Muskegon Drive was held at the Greenfield Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18.

After gaining traction from a post made on Greenfield Gabber, it was shared that the legal notice of the public hearing was sent out about the development of the parking lot that was originally approved back in April 2023 under BZA Case CU23-04.

The two properties that make up the now wooded lot have been zoned industrial since the mid-90s, according to Greenfield City staff.

At the Jan. 18 meeting, it was explained that the reason the petitioner came before the board was a modification to open up the lot to multiple users. Those who have a lease agreement would have access 24/7 to the gated parking lot with some type of way to enter and exit the parking lot for those users only.

 Google maps image showing where the parking lot will be located. Google maps image

Paulettle Richardson, BZA board member — and a few others — clarified with the petitioners, Chris Cooper and Todd Torok, that this would be for semi trailer parking only and would not serve as a truck stop. It was also stated that there would be approximately 10% to 20% traffic flow at one given time.

“So, this is how I envision this. Somebody comes up, they push the button, the gate goes, they pull in, back up and get their trailer disengaged and they’re gone,” said Richardson, confirming the process, with the petitioners agreeing with her.

At the April meeting, it was said the plan was to add a 240 parking space lot with a 40-foot buffer around the right-of-ways which also matches the front yard setbacks. It was also said that they would try to preserve as much tree growth as possible and surround the property with a chain-linked fence and gates at those right-of-way access points.

In order to help preserve the tree growth and as one of the conditions by staff, the perimeter yard should be lined with a staggered double row of evergreen trees, meeting requirements of the landscape code.

Other conditions included having all required permits and inspections obtained; a drainage plan submitted for approval to storm water coordinator prior to permitting; id any adjoining property utilizes the parking lot, they are encouraged to create a cross-access easement to reduce truck traffic; and trucks that are coming and going into the parking lot are not allowed to sit and idle — the site will not serve as a truck stop for truck cabs.

Despite these conditions and the petitioners agreeing to them, many community members spoke out against the parking lot.

Greenfield resident Penny Head said that she moved to Greenfield roughly three years ago to get away from Indianapolis, but traffic that used to be just cars is turning into more semi trucks.

“Greenfield is not Indianapolis. You’re never going to be Indianapolis, thank God for that,” Head said. “So can we not get rid of all of our green space? That’s the draw here. That’s what we old people like. Do we have to lose that?”

One resident of Greenfield, Lance Sanchez, lives right next door to the proposed trailer parking lot and said that with this parking lot in his backyard having trucks come and go 24/7, he and his family won’t be able to sleep due to the noise and lighting of the trucks coming and going. He is also concerned with the lack of monitoring.

Sanchez said the corner of his lot is already destroyed by semi trucks and that there is no way to track how many trucks come and go with the estimated 10% to 20% of truck flow.

“There is no guarantee that we’ll sleep at night. … I don’t understand how that can be controlled when I’m going to be living basically in this parking lot,” said Sanchez when he brought up his concerns to the board.

According to the Greenfield noise ordinance, noise is to not exceed 64 to 66 decibels in an industrial zoning, depending on the time of the day.

Mike Terry, BZA president, also addressed the multiple concerns of lighting by letting the audience know that there will be lighting standards that the petitioners will have to abide by.

Another concern would be the upkeep, such as picking up trash that is left in the parking lot.

Richardson said that “human nature being human nature,” trash will most likely get left behind. If trash is to become an issue, staff said the petitioner would then receive a zoning violation, including a fine.

Head said that while she understands that they are the ones who can report the problem to the city, she would rather see the parking lot not be added.

It was also mentioned by the audience that they thought they were not getting proper notice for the original meeting that approved the semi trailer parking lot. However, Greenfield city staff said that they have affidavits on file and that the petitioners legally notified all required property owners, those who live within two properties out or 660 feet — whichever came first.

Despite the multiple people speaking to the opposition of the semi trailer parking lot, it was explained that this parking lot was already approved by the board in April 2023 and that the night’s meeting was just about the modification. The petitioners also requested a 12-month extension for starting work on the parking lot.

After listening to the multiple testimony, the board passed the modifications 5-0.