North side homeowners fighting development, claim it will hurt community

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Indianapolis homeowners living on the far north side have been battling it out with an out of state developer in front of city officials for months. They claim the proposal for a mixed-used development a block west of a popular commercial area is too big and will, as a result, negatively impact their community.

The more than six acre piece of property sits on 86th Street not too far from the Fashion Mall at Keystone Avenue where there is arleady heavy traffic and plenty of congestion.

“We have to live there,” said Ruth Hayes, President of the Nora North side Community Council.

The developer, Hendricks Commercial Properties, paid for a traffic study that revealed ‘no significant’ impact on the traffic. They have asked the city for a few zoning changes.

The property was once occupied by a deteriorating, one-story strip mall that was just leveled. Heavy machinery is now hauling the rubble away.

“When you reach material matters, that there is no room on, it doesn’t make any sense, and that’s where we are,” said Mike Cook, an attorney for Hendricks Commercial Properties.

The plans include more than 100 apartments and approximately 36,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level. Suggestions include restaurants and retail among other options.

“The uncertainly that is connected with where the project stands represents a serious impediment to the marketing activities that is currently underway,” said Cook.

Still, neighbors, who have managed to talk to development company into making a few changes already, claim they may still be trying to do too much on the land that would, in turn, set a harmful precedent for future projects. They are now in the process of reviewing the newest plans drawn up by the developer.

The Metropolitan Development Commission has agreed to give the neighborhood associations involved two weeks to share the news and decide whether or not they will continue to fight the development.

“It’s really an urban village type project that you’d see on Mass Avenue or in Fountain Square, and they’re plopping it in the middle of a suburban area,” said Todd DeGroff, who is representing the Driftwood Hills Neighborhood Association and is also a member.

A vote is expected by the commission on Feb. 20.

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