Seymour Plan Commission approves apartment project on new Burkart Bypass


The city is showing little opposition thus far for a proposed project from an Indianapolis developer to build more than 200 apartments on Seymour’s southeast side.

On Thursday, the plan commission voted 10-1 to approve a request from net.

Commissioner Rick Schleibaum cast the only dissenting vote.

The 7.26 acres, which is split by the new bypass, is currently zoned R-1 for single family residential. If approved by the Seymour City Council, the zoning will be changed to R-2 for the construction of a multifamily apartment complex.

Attorney Bill Braman with Lorenzo, Bevers, Braman and Connell law firm in Seymour spoke on behalf of both Robert P. VonDielingen, who owns the property, and Alpine Studios which is currently on contract to purchase it.

Alpine Studios has developed numerous multifamily housing projects primarily on the southside of Indianapolis.

Braman said the R-2 zoning would be consistent with residential uses to the north and west of the site which include single-family homes and apartments. On the east side of the property is Walmart Supercenter and on the south side is farm ground, Braman added.

“So we believe rezoning this property from R-1 to R-2 will not be inconsistent with any of these other uses,” he said.

Three residents who live nearby spoke out against the proposed rezone sharing their concerns with drainage, the need for green space, the high density of the apartments and the negative impact the development could have on surrounding property values.

Roger Smith, who lives in the 1400 block of Hillcrest Drive, said he is in favor of more housing in Seymour but is concerned with the number of people that will live there and what income level the project will target.

“Those are questions that I think need to be answered before we get further on down the road,” he said.

Braman said the apartments will not be subsidized housing. The development will be a mix of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments with an average monthly rental price of $800.

Smith said he also has some worries about drainage as the Burkart Boulevard Bypass project has already caused drainage issues near his residence.

Developers have reviewed drainage and utilities and believe the site is adequately served by needed infrastructure to permit development of such a project, Braman added.

“There is already a 16 foot drainage easement on the south side of this property,” he said. “The plan is to put in detention ponds on the south side of these parcels to handle any overflow drainage which would be discharged into the ditch to the east of the property.”

The drainage plan is consistent with the city’s new drainage ordinance and will not result in any runoff on any neighboring properties, he added.

When it comes to an increase in traffic in the area, Braman said the project obviously will result in more traffic. But with all access to the planned apartments coming from the new Burkart Boulevard South Bypass, it shouldn’t be a problem for the neighbors, he said.

“Given the development of Burkart and its planned impact to have heavy vehicular traffic on it, we believe that Burkart is adequate to handle the additional traffic flow that will result from this project,” he said.

Alpine Studio’s goal is to develop the project in a way that is consistent with residential, not commercial, properties, that adds to the local tax base and does not unduly burden utilities and other public infrastructure, Braman added.

“They want to be a good neighbor to the other property owners,” he said.

Steve Bush, who lives in the 500 block of South Fourth Street Road, said he doesn’t want his house surrounded by apartments.

“You’ve already cut the value of my house down with the road and now you’re going to cut it down more. So you turned a $190,000 home into a $140,000 home,” he said. “I just don’t see how that’s good for the surrounding area.”

Marcus Roberts said he lives right across from the property. He would rather see it developed into single family residences which would spur more people to buy property and stay in Seymour instead of renting an apartment for a while and then moving away.

He also said the added apartments could put a strain on the city’s emergency services forcing the city to have to increase police and fire coverage.

Another concern he brought up was the lack of green space available for children who will live in the apartments to play on.

Adding more green space is something that can be required and incorporated during the design phase, Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said.

The property is located in a federally qualified Opportunity Zone which is designed to spur economic development and job creation in the area by providing tax incentives to developers.

In order to grow Seymour, Mayor Matt Nicholson has made it a goal to improve and increase available housing options in the city and Alpine Studio’s project fits those plans, Braman said.

The development is intended to provide housing for employees of local industries and businesses, particularly those who do not already live in Seymour, he added.

“We believe this additional housing option will give local employers an additional tool to recruit qualified employees and therefore will promote economic development in the area,” he said.

Although Alpine Studios has preliminary site plans completed, no final decisions have been made on the exact number or mix of apartments.

Speaking in support of the project was Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp.

In May 2019, JCIDC commissioned a prospectus to be done for the Opportunity Zone to help market it as Seymour’s area for growth both now and in the future, Plump said.

“We foresee the opportunity not only for residential in the area but also potential commercial and towards the south end, once you get close to Freeman Field, opportunities for industrial growth as well,” he said.

Plump said there is a major housing shortage in Seymour that needs to be addressed.

This project is consistent with filling that need, he added.

“I was having a conversation with a local realtor and was really kind of stunned that as of March 10, 2021, there are a total of only 25 residential homes on the market in Jackson County,” he said. “If that’s not the definition of a tight housing market, I really don’t know what is.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Seymour City Council meeting

Where: City Council Chambers, Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut St.

When: 7 p.m, March 22

On the agenda: An ordinance to rezone 7.26 acres in the 500 South Block of the Fourth Street Road extension from R-1 (single-family residential) to R-2 (multi-family residential) for the construction of an apartment complex.


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