City BZA approves variances for new townhomes

Trees were expected to be torn down Friday, and this coming Thursday, a dilapidated home at 222 Marley Lane in Seymour will be torn down.

Arthur Properties Inc. of Seymour purchased the 0.46-acre property in November 2022 and announced plans to tear down the home and put in townhomes.

In December, the company received city approval to rezone the property from R-1 (single-family residential) to R-3 (multifamily residential), and eviction notices were filed against the nearly 15 occupants.

Then the company had to wait until all of the occupants were out of the home and also obtain variances before beginning construction on the 11 townhome units, which will be called Tanglewood Place.

During a meeting Tuesday night in the council chambers at Seymour City Hall, the Seymour Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-0 to approve setback allowances, drainage and lot size requirements and parking. BZA member Karen Munson was absent, and there is vacancy on the board after Jason Kleber resigned since he moved out of city limits.

Kevin Arthur, president of Arthur Properties, said the setback is a 1-foot encroachment. The city’s front setback zoning requirement is 30 feet, and Arthur has proposed 29 feet.

On the west side of the property, there will be an easement with the adjoining property, which is a 32-unit apartment complex owned by Arthur Properties.

“We’ll have a drive, which is not on this piece of property (for the townhomes), but that helps us on that,” he said. “We’re also putting a dumpster on the other property and doing an easement with this property so if it ever would have to be split, then we would have the easement to use the dumpster.”

With the drainage, Arthur said Jonathan Isaacs with Independent Land Surveying of Brownstown told him there’s no infrastructure in the area, so they are proposing to drain to the street.

City Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said he talked to city Engineer Bernie Hauersperger about drainage since stormwater retention is required, but he didn’t have an issue with the proposal.

“Bernie will probably address that when the plans come,” Gray said.

He also talked to Hauersperger about the parking and density and didn’t have issues with those, either.

There will be 24 parking spaces for the townhomes, which is one short of the city’s zoning requirement. Fourteen of those spots will require backing out onto Marley Lane.

“(Motorists) go pretty slow around that with the two 90-degree turns right there,” Arthur said.

With lot size requirements, the city has a 60% maximum lot coverage, and Arthur’s proposal is 75%.

The city also has a 20-units-per-acre maximum density, and Arthur’s plans call for 22 units.

Plus, the city says there needs to be six trees every 50 feet and landscape buffer trees every 10 feet where bordering multifamily or single-family properties, and the townhomes will only have three trees along the street and none along the south line of the property.

Instead, Arthur said a vinyl privacy fence will be put in place along the south side. There already is a privacy fence on the west side of the property near the apartment complex.

Commission member Dave Eggers said the townhomes will be a vast improvement for the property, and he made a motion to approve the variances. It was seconded and approved.

“I will say that several of the surrounding property owners have called and expressed ‘Please, get this done,’” Gray said.

Commission member Jack Swindell, a retired Seymour police officer, said police have often responded to incidents at the home.

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.

Arthur said he tried for a couple of years to buy the property, and he finally was able to get that done toward the end of last year.