Key Zionsville property gets town's attention

January 5, 2010

The town of Zionsville is considering buying the 2.4-acre site of a former Citgo gasoline station that it considers a gateway to the Zionsville village retail area.

The property, which has been owned by a Minnesota family for more than 40 years, has been vacant since the gas station closed in the spring of 2008. It sits at the intersection of State Road 334 and Zionsville Road.

The site is listed for $2 million with Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, which got the listing about six weeks ago.

Sean Clapp, a Fishers attorney who represents the owner, said his client inherited the property from an older relative in January 2007. Last year, Zionsville initiated and approved a rezoning of the property over the objections of the owner.

The rezoning, to a classification known as Village Business District zoning, was vigorously opposed by his client, Clapp said. “Essentially, the rezoning made it so they couldn’t operate it as a gas station. They felt like the town made it more difficult for them [to find a buyer],” Clapp said.

With the possibility of finding another gas station to take over the site eliminated, the owner recently paid for the removal of underground storage tanks that might have discouraged buyers. Clapp said he’s waiting for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to certify that the removal was done properly, a routine step in the mitigation process.

Clapp said there are no active discussions about Zionsville buying the property.

Zionsville Director of Planning Terry Jones said the town has discussed buying the property, but he referred questions about the potential purchase to Town Manager Edward Mitro, who wasn’t available to comment.

“It’s a gateway to the village,” Jones said. It’s a question of “what do you want the first impression to be,” he said. Regardless of whether Zionsville buys it, Jones said the town will be paying close attention to what is built there.

Zionsville, whose population is about 12,000, has carefully monitored the development of its Main Street retail area for 50 years. In the late 1950s, it began revitalizing the area, which has cobblestone streets, by encouraging building owners to improve their storefronts using a Colonial theme. More recently it adopted the Village Business District  zoning designation, which is intended to preserve the character of the district by, for example, spelling out what uses are appropriate and limiting building setbacks.

James Leffel, who along with Del Demao, is the Colliers Turley Martin Tucker listing agent for the property, said Zionsville representatives wants to meet with him this month to discuss the future of the site.
 

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