Mahern got it wrong

April 13, 2013

The [April 1] Forefront column by Louis Mahern discussed a zoning case in the Fletcher Place Neighborhood “called down” by City-County Councilor Jeff Miller. Mahern’s column incorrectly assumes that neighborhood opposition to the project relates to its affordable housing aspect.

The subject site at 460 Virginia Ave. is 0.67 acres. Two comprehensive plans limit residential density on the site to four to six units per acre. The third plan, the Regional Center Plan 2020, recommends commercial and residential uses with residential limited to medium density (16 to 49 units per acre).

The developer wanted to construct 75 units per acre. The Fletcher Place Neighborhood Association agreed to support the project up to the maximum density allowed in the comprehensive plans—49 units per acre. This is in line with the existing multi-family projects directly adjacent to the site (Villaggio, 37 units per acre; Calvin Fletcher Apartments, 32 units per acre).

The association and 92 surrounding property owners opposed the high-density aspect of the project.

Representatives from the neighborhood met with the developer to discuss the density. The neighborhood offered to support the project (including the low-income tax credits) if the developer would reduce the residential density. The developer refused to eliminate even a single unit.

The association does not object to affordable housing. There are three low-income housing developments in Fletcher Place, all of which add to the quality and vibrancy of this diverse neighborhood. It is also important to note that this site is in the Fletcher Place Historic District. The projects cited in Mahern’s column (Mozzo and Hinge) are not.

Miller scheduled a meeting with the Department of Metropolitan Development to discuss the effects of such an intense development on the site. Given the concerns of the neighborhood, he then asked the council to postpone a decision on the zoning change in order to continue dialogue.

We understand that the developer later abandoned the project. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority denied the tax credit application based on score (only 21 of 60 applicants were awarded tax credits in 2013).

We would hope that all city-county councilors represent and support the interests of their constituents in the manner Miller has in this matter.

Glenn Blackwood
president, Fletcher Place Neighborhood Association

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