Plan commission gives rezone favorable recommendation for townhouses

A local property management company has taken ownership of a piece of property that has long been declared unsafe and unfit for occupancy.

During a Seymour Plan Commission meeting Thursday at city hall, Bill Braman with Lorenzo, Bevers, Braman & Connell spoke on behalf of Arthur Properties Inc. of Seymour to request a rezone of the 0.46-acre property at 222 Marley Lane from R-1 (single-family residential) to R-3 (multifamily residential).

The company’s plan is to tear down the existing home and build townhouses.

“This property, I think it’s safe to say, has a pretty sordid history with various agencies of the city,” Braman said. “It’s a very dilapidated house. We believe right now, there are about 15 people at least living in portions of the house or the garage or whatever is on that property. There has been a history of police calls to the property, issues with the condition of the property.”

In early 2021, tenants were ordered to vacate after the city condemned the property. It was deemed unsafe after a Dec. 7, 2020, inspection by the city, Jackson County Health Department and Seymour Fire Department. A follow-up inspection was conducted Jan. 11, 2021, at which time the order to vacate was issued, giving property owner Dan Brock 60 days to bring the property in compliance with city code.

Brock purchased the two-story, wood-frame, single-family home in 2007, and the fire and health departments both said there had been a history of reoccurring violations since 2008. Plus, the police department had responded to numerous incident reports and made numerous arrests there in recent years.

The good news, Braman said, is Arthur Properties bought the property a couple of months ago and has plans to construct two buildings for townhouses: One with four units and one with seven units.

Braman said eviction notices were going to be filed against the current occupants this week, and then the house would be torn down.

First, though, the property’s zoning district needs to be changed to permit that use.

“We think the R-3 district is a good transitional zoning use,” Braman said. “This property is surrounded by commercial to the north and west, so R-3 will be a good transition from the commercial to the north and west to the single-family R-1 that’s around. Obviously, there’s other multifamily use in the area, so it certainly won’t be inconsistent with the way adjacent properties have been used.”

Braman said Arthur Properties is a good local company that has a lot of units around the city, including 32 units to the west of the home on Marley Lane.

“They’ll do a good job maintaining the property and keeping the standards up,” he said.

No one spoke in favor of or against the petition, and the only question from the commission came from Rick Schleibaum, who asked if the number of parking spaces was accurate.

Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said the plan commission’s only order of business was to discuss the rezone petition, but he said he believes there will be some variances for this proposal that will need to be presented to the Seymour Board of Zoning Appeals.

The plan commission then voted 8-0 to advance the petition with a favorable recommendation for the Seymour City Council to consider at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Nov. 28 in the council chambers. Commission members Jeri Wells, Gary Colglazier and Bernie Hauersperger were absent.