Workforce housing project receives variances


A developer is getting everything in line to construct a nearly $10 million 54-unit apartment complex in Seymour.

Seymour Apartments, which is proposed for a 2.5-acre vacant grassy lot across from Margaret R. Brown Elementary School, is being touted as a solution for the shortage in workforce housing for low-income families in the area.

The proposed three-story, 65,670-square-foot, L-shaped building will have 33 two-bedroom units and 21 three-bedroom units, according to a preliminary site plan.

It targets families making an annual salary of $30,000 to $40,000, said Sam Rogers with TWG Development of Indianapolis.

On Tuesday, the Seymour Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-1 to approve three variances for the project. No one from the public spoke in favor or opposition of the project.

Board member Jim Myers cast the only dissenting vote.

One variance allows for half a parking space less per unit as required by city code. The development will provide 1.5 parking spaces per unit, instead of the required two spaces, for a total of 82 parking spaces.

Rogers said in previous developments, it has been the company’s experience that one parking space per unit is adequate.

“We normally see about one car per family,” he said. “Obviously, we respect the city’s zoning code and tried to get as much parking as we could on there.”

The second variance is from the allowable 35-foot maximum building height to 45 feet to allow for higher ceilings and a pitched roof with architectural shingles.

Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said he didn’t have any issues with the proposed building height.

“It’s a pretty normal variance that we have for people that apply for larger scale projects,” he said.

And the third variance is to allow for 54 units, which is four more apartments than typically would be permitted on the acreage.

“We do not believe this is a major increase,” Rogers said.

BZA member Dave Eggers asked if the number of units was decreased if it would be possible for TWG to meet the city’s existing parking requirements without a variance.

Eggers said the concern with parking stems from the development being across from an elementary school.

“There’s no parking along the street, and buses are in and out,” he said. “There’s residential on one side and senior living on the other. There’s just no extra parking available.”

Rogers said the number of units cannot be changed because of an application already filed with the state. The project is contingent on whether it receives state housing tax credits, which will be announced in November.

Eggers said he would vote for the variances because of the need for low-income housing in Seymour but suggested developers look at reconfiguring the parking lot.

Both the city council and plan commission already have approved rezoning the property, which is part of the Poynter Ford dealership at 526 S. Jackson Park Drive. It’s currently zoned C-3 (highway commercial) but will change to R-3 (neighborhood residential) zoning.

Poynter Ford has sold the property and will be relocating in the near future.

The property is located in Seymour’s Opportunity Zone, which is a federally designated area targeting low-income areas for development.

The variances and rezoning demonstrate the city’s support and help the project in being competitive for the state funding, Rogers said.

The city council will have second and final reading of the rezone ordinance at its Sept. 9 meeting.

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