Noblesville Common Council signed off Tuesday on three apartment projects that will add almost 850 units to the city’s housing inventory, then agreed to talk about when to say when.
“I don’t have a lot of interest in approving any more apartments,” Councilor Brian Ayer said after the votes, especially if a project would contribute to sprawl and strain city services. “We need to come up with where we stand on this issue.”
His comments echoed the concerns council colleague Steve Wood expressed last month, when the three proposals were introduced.
As IBJ reported in its print edition this week, an apartment-building boom in the northern suburbs has some officials worried about the risks of adding too much too fast. About 2,000 units are under construction north of 96th Street and another 3,500 have at least preliminary approval.
The Noblesville projects approved Tuesday would add 352 apartments at The Crossing, a mixed-use project planned for the northeast corner of State Road 37 and 146th Street; 368 units at the Flats at 146 of Meredith Meadows, in the 15000 block of Union Chapel Road; and 124 single-story units in Templeton Ridge, on the east side of Gray Road just north of 146th Street.
Wood voted against all three proposals, and Ayer opposed Flats at 146 and Templeton Ridge. Council President Mark Boice voted against the Templeton project and withheld his vote on the Crossing plan.
“I’m not saying shut the door” on future development, Ayer said, but the city should be cautious going forward.
Other Noblesville council members also chimed in, saying the approved projects reflect the community’s high standards and are well-located to make use of existing city services. Still, they agreed it may be time to slow down.
“We have to be intentional, thoughtful about where we look at new multifamily projects,” said Councilor Greg O’Connor.
Boice said officials should do everything possible to protect the city’s charm. Because apartment dwellers tend to be more transient than homeowners, he’s concerned approving too many projects will affect the small-town atmosphere.
“That kind of scares me,” he said. “We need to make sure we keep the quaintness of Noblesville.”