Local News

Arbor Homes brings once denied Riverview project back before Plan Commission

The legality of Arbor Homes filing a new application for a proposed 115-home subdivision near Blue River Memorial Park came in to question Monday at the Plan Commission meeting held at Shelbyville High School’s Breck Auditorium.

The initial planned unit development concept plan was denied at June’s Plan Commission meeting. Board members cited safety concerns along Old Rushville Road and Morris Avenue as well as the overall density of the project that would include adding a detention pond within nearby Blue River Memorial Park, 725 Lee Boulevard.

Arbor Homes filed a new petition without any changes to the project. The only new item added was a completed traffic study of how the subdivision would impact the area.

The Plan Commission was advised prior to Monday’s meeting by City of Shelbyville attorney Jennifer Meltzer that the addition of the traffic study qualified Arbor Homes to submit the new proposal – and the meeting continued.

Several Plan Commission members did not appear interested in revisiting the proposal, though, without changes to the design concept.

The City of Shelbyville is awaiting the results of its own traffic study of the area that has not seen upgrades over the years of Morris Avenue or Old Rushville Road, which brings people to Blue River Memorial Park, Coulston Elementary School, Forest Hill Cemetery and the Shelby County Fairgounds.

The proposed project on land owned by First Christian Church would include 115 homes on approximately 41 acres. But a detention pond is needed and cannot fit on the proposed site and maintain feasibility for Arbor Homes, according to one of its representatives at Monday’s meeting.

Arbor Homes was approached about adding the pond across Morris Avenue and on Blue River Memorial Park property. Plan Commission member Doug Cassidy confirmed that Arbor Homes did not ask for that allowance but was approached by a city representative, although the Arbor Homes representative could not say definitively who offered that option.

The pond would include walking trails and a shelter area and would be stocked for public fishing.

The nearly triangle-shaped property is challenging, according to Charles Russell, Entitlement Manager with Arbor Homes, who also was in attendance at Monday’s meeting.

The conversation eventually led to Plan Commission member and City of Shelbyville Parks Board President Gary Nolley to say, “It’s like putting a square peg in a round hole.”

Lee McNeely, a local attorney who lives in the area of the proposed subdivision, spoke to the Plan Commission Monday night praising Arbor Homes for choosing to build in Shelbyville but was not in favor of the subdivision for a different reason.

With the creation of Riverview, Blue River Memorial Park, the city’s biggest park with four baseball/softball diamonds, multiple soccer fields, a dog park, a large shelter house and splash pad, and a cross country course, would be fully landlocked with no room for future expansion.

Citing the need for more clarification from the city attorney and seeing the results of the city’s traffic study of the area, the Plan Commission voted to continue the petition until its October meeting.