City studies Burkart extension

It has been three years since the mile-long north extension of Burkart Boulevard, connecting it to State Road 11, was finished.

Now, city leaders are looking at how best to develop property along the bypass around the northeast side of the city to bring more housing and commercial development to that area.

During Thursday night’s Seymour Plan Commission meeting, the members were scheduled to discuss a proposal by the city to rezone various properties along the south side of the extension for future single-family housing along with 200 feet on both sides of the road for commercial purposes.

That discussion did not take place, however, due to an error that resulted in an adjacent property owner not receiving notification of the meeting from the city.

Jeremy Gray, head of the city’s planning and zoning department, said inaccurate county records led to the oversight.

“We mailed out over 300 notices, but we missed one, and we want everyone who may be affected to have the opportunity to come to the meeting and voice their concerns or their support,” he said.

About 15 people attended Thursday’s meeting.

The discussion has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Nov. 12.

Currently, the properties are zoned RS-rural suburban, a zoning classification not used inside city limits.

“That property has always been outside the city limits until we had to annex it to put the Burkart extension in,” Gray said. “Since we can’t have RS zoning in city limits, we need to get that changed.”

Rural suburban zoning is used in the county and designates property that is for farming or single-family residential housing.

“Most of this property is farm ground,” Gray said of the property surrounding the Burkart extension.

Although the proposal is coming from the city, Gray said the plan commission needs to know if it’s what people want. He said he thinks the rezoning falls in line with the city’s overall comprehensive plan and will help the city grow.

“We didn’t just pull this out of thin air,” Gray said. “We went with what is currently along Burkart, so it will be zoned similar to where the license branch and Edward Jones office is.”

Although some people will be against having residential property near commercial property, Gray said it won’t be as bad as people think.

“Buffering today is a lot better than it used to be,” he said. “We’ve come a long way with buffering in our ordinance so the requirements are stronger.”

Most of the questions Gray’s office has received so far about the plan is what kind of commercial development will be allowed.

Although he sees the area prime for a gas station/convenience store, a restaurant and other retail businesses, Gray said a lot of people “just can’t see that.”

“They don’t want gas stations or strip malls,” he said of the calls he has received. “They would rather see professional offices. It’s hard for people to envision because it has always been farm ground. But we feel like Burkart should be a major commercial thoroughfare.”

But he’s not opposed to changing the plan, he said.

“If it’s not what the public wants, then we’ll have to take another look at it,” he said.

In most cases, Gray said the rezoning could double the values of the properties, making it easier for owners to sell.

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What: Seymour Plan Commission meeting

Where: Seymour City Hall

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 12

Why: To discuss a proposal to rezone various properties along the Burkart Boulevard north extension from R-S (residential suburban) zoning to R-1 (single-family residential) zoning along the south side of Burkart Boulevard with a 200-foot strip along both sides plus the Masonic Lodge property and Hague property across from it to be zoned C-3 for commercial development.