Property rezone moves to second reading

If it clears one more step, a Seymour property will receive some big improvements.

During a recent meeting, the city council passed the first reading of an ordinance to rezone the 0.46-acre property at 222 Marley Lane from R-1 (single-family residential) to R-3 (multifamily residential). The vote was 5-0 with councilmen Drew Storey and Chad Hubbard absent.

The second and final reading will be presented during the next council meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 26.

Councilman Bret Cunningham, chairman of the planning and zoning committee, said the rezone came from the Seymour Plan Commission with a favorable recommendation during its Nov. 10 meeting.

That’s when Bill Braman with Lorenzo, Bevers, Braman & Connell spoke on behalf of Arthur Properties Inc. of Seymour to request the rezone to tear down the existing home on the property 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 during that meeting. “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.

Arthur Properties bought the property a few months ago and has plans to construct two buildings for townhouses: One with four units and one with seven units. The company also owns an adjacent apartment complex.

“We own the apartments next door and are trying to better that corner,” company President Kevin Arthur told the city council during its Nov. 28 meeting. “We did try for a couple years to buy it. We finally got it bought. We’re going to put some townhomes there, and I think it will really enhance the area.”

Before eviction notices can be filed against the current occupants and the house can be torn down, Braman said the property’s zoning district needs to be changed to permit the proposed use.

“We think the R-3 district is a good transitional zoning use,” Braman told the plan commission. “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.”

During the council meeting, Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said he agreed with the R-3 zoning.

“That’s kind of a mix of single-family apartments, condos and duplexes, and we’ve got single-family in that area, too, so that’s the reason for the R-3,” he said.

Braman said Arthur Properties is a good local company that has a lot of units around the city and will do a good job maintaining the property and keeping the standards up.

“You’re going to make a lot of neighbors happy,” council President Dave Earley told Arthur.

“I think we all agree just getting rid of what is there is an improvement,” Cunningham said. “The Arthurs have done quite a bit in our community to help beautify it.”