After a two hour meeting and question and answer session, it remains clear that more work still needs to be done on the Economic Development Strategic Plan.
Zionsville residents had the opportunity Tuesday night, June 26, to ask any question relating to the draft of the plan that the Economic Development Strategic Plan Working Group has been working on for longer than one year.
The most popular question of the night for Chris Hamm, a principal planner with American Structurepoint, who is aiding the group with the project, was what the plan meant by new development having a focus on a high level of quality and architecture.
“There is still some work that has to be done,” Hamm said. “This plan does not define what is and is not high quality of architecture. Ultimately, the Plan Commission would need to have a conversation on design standards. This plan provides the basic parameters of proportion, scale and things of that nature.”
Town Manager Ed Mitro said there are some design standards in place.
“We do have something, which is more than most communities,” he said. “There are material standards and architecture standards in place. We may need to beef them up.”
Hamm also answered a question about what the definition of the “Gateway District,” which is approximately 55 acres at the intersection of U.S. 421 and 116th Street.
“The 55 acres lends itself to some type of mixed use,” he said. “If you want something that is unique and special, it would have to be some type of walkable, mixed use. I don’t know what the use would be, but you will know when something is filed. My expectation is of something that is very nice gets developed there.”
Hamm was also asked how many apartment complexes he plans on bringing into the area.
“I’m not trying to bring in any apartments,” he said. “I don’t develop apartments. We have actually taken some areas that are currently able to have apartments out of the area.”
Another question residents asked was how much development like the type on Michigan Road would be coming to Zionsville Road.
“I’m not sure there would by any Michigan Road-type development on Zionsville Road,” Hamm said. “They are two very different opportunities. I don’t expect big box retail along Zionsville Road; it’s more of an extension of the Village corridor. You want to capitalize on all of the great assets of downtown.”
A question was also asked about the impact of any new development in the Tax Increment Financing district on the schools within the next three to five years.
“The likelihood of anything happening and having a tax impact is questionable at best,” Hamm said. “If something was filed today, construction wouldn’t begin for several months. If construction is completed in April or May, the way property tax is collected, they wouldn’t pay property taxes until the following year.”
Residents are able to fill out an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/062612DraftPlanZEDSP.
The working group’s next meeting is tentatively scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, July 26, in the Town Hall Community Room, 1100 W. Oak St.