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Development plans near 86th and Keystone draw anger from neighbors

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A proposed development in Indianapolis’ Nora neighborhood has been rubbing some homeowners the wrong way. Now, a group says it’s hoping to save one of the last pieces of undeveloped land the area has to offer.

For north side homeowner Stacey Clark, the section of land at 86th and Haverstick is more than just dirt and trees. The combination of old growth and trails was one of the things that drew her to the neighborhood in the first place.

“It’s this little tucked away oasis in the heart of NORA,” she said.

Now the mother of two says a development proposal by Keystone Realty is threatening to put that to an end.

Clark and a group called the Northside Neighbors Against Alexander of the Crossing say developing the land would ruin one of the only stretches of untouched woods in what’s now a highly developed area. Not only that, they say the addition would make an already congested traffic area worse.

“It’s just going to keep going and we’re just going to see this commercialism fall down the road,” Clark said.

Indiana forest alliance is also fighting the development. In a statement, Executive Director Jeff Stant said:

“(It) should be preserved as a park for the benefit of the surrounding residential community, not developed for more office and retail space that is in already in abundant supply.”

“Indiana Forest Alliance is very concerned about the explosion of development that has wiped out virtually all of the once relatively-abundant, forest and green space in this part of Marion County within the last 20-30 years. The city of Indianapolis has encouraged this development without considering the impact of the loss of any of this forest and green space on the quality of life of the residents who live here. The forest at 86th and Haverstick Road, while not old growth, is still extremely valuable green space that should be preserved as a park for the benefit of the surrounding Driftwood residential community, not developed for more office space and commercial retail that is in already in abundant supply in this area and contributing to an unsafe level of traffic congestion.”

Senior VP for Keystone Realty, Mike Patarino, says asking the company to not develop the land would be an unreasonable request.

Patarino says currently the land is zoned for a 60,000 square foot grocery store, along with a couple dozen townhomes. However , he says Keystone wants to build a two-story 30,000 square foot building. He added that the company would also add turn lanes on Haverstick Road to help decrease traffic congestion, and will offer a tree replacement program.

“We’ve committed to doing a replacement of about eight trees for every one that we would need to take down because of the current project,” he said.

Patarino says the company will present its plan to concerned residents on ThursdayHe says it’s the company’s hope their latest designs are something everyone can get behind.

Keystone will also have to present its plans to the Metropolitan Development Commission next month. The city says they will release their own recommendations on the project a week before that happens.