The Fishers Plan Commission on Wednesday voted to advance a proposal by Indianapolis-based Platinum Properties to develop a 290-home neighborhood at Southeastern Parkway and 113th Street despite concerns from nearby residents about the impact the project could have on local schools.
The Fishers City Council will now decide the fate of the proposed Grantham neighborhood after the plan commission voted 6-2-1 in favor of the development. Commission members Brad DeReamer and Anne Kelly voted against the plan and Todd Zimmerman abstained. Members William Harling and Bruce Molter were absent.
Since the project was first announced in May, Platinum Properties has reduced the total number of houses in its planned single-family neighborhood from 314 to 290. The 158-acre Grantham neighborhood proposal features both a gated section for estate homes and two sections for young professionals or empty nesters.
Neighbors who spoke during Wednesday’s meeting said they’re worried the project will create an undue burden on the area’s streets and schools.
“We need to pause, step back, check on our growth a little bit and see if we’re really ready to sustain that growth,” said Catherine VanHorn, a neighboring resident.
DeReamer said he shared neighbors’ concerns about school overcrowding, especially since nearby Southeastern Elementary School already needs an overflow trailer within one year of opening.
Wednesday’s discussion also touched on the number of subdivisions already approved for the area that stand unfinished.
The plan commission has approved 3,129 lots within two miles of the petitioner’s target site in the past four years, DeReamer said. He ultimately voted against the project and questioned whether local schools could handle the potential 6,000 additional students those homes might bring.
Steve Hardin, a Faegre Drinker attorney representing Platinum Properties, said developers have continually heard concerns about impacts to the school district as the city’s residential areas started moving east. However, he said, the district found enrollment is actually flattening out.
Tony Bagato, Fishers’ planning director, said it’s likely those schools will be redistricted long before Grantham’s 290 homes are completed.
Commission member Pete Peterson said he voted in favor of the project because Platinum Properties—or the next developer to come along—could build 261 homes there without council approval. He said he’d rather send a favorable recommendation to the city council for its September meeting based on the petitioner’s voluntary tree-preservation plans, trail connections and other features.
“I’m trying to drive the best development I possibly can because it’s not going to stop,” Peterson said.