City council approves rezone for duplexes

More housing is planned in Seymour.

During Monday’s city council meeting, the second reading of an ordinance was unanimously passed to rezone the 4.56-acre property at 1341 W. Second St. from R-2 (multifamily residential) to R-3 (multiple-family residential).

That’s in the field across from Seymour High School and between the Community Foundation of Jackson County building and the Valore at Lexmoor apartment complex.

This was the next step for Cornwell Construction LLC in the process to build 10 duplex buildings with 20 units total.

In February, the Seymour Plan Commission voted 9-0 to pass the rezone request on to the city council with a favorable recommendation, and the council approved the first reading of the ordinance on a 6-0 vote.

The second and final reading was Monday night, and it passed 7-0.

At one point, Cornwell Construction planned to build a 52-unit apartment complex on the property. Clarence Cornwell told the plan commission the property was zoned for multi-unit apartments since that was the initial plan.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, he said he and his wife, Shannon, decided to change their plans and purchased the property to make way for duplexes.

Cornwell said these will be townhouse-style buildings, and each duplex will have its own garage.

After the first reading of the ordinance, Councilman Seth Davidson asked if sidewalks would be put in place along West Second Street in front of the duplexes, connecting the apartments to Community Drive.

City Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said there will be sidewalks installed the width of the property, and that will be the responsibility of the property owner, Cornwell.

“You see a lot of people walking from the apartments over to Community,” Davidson said.

A couple of residents asked whether the city’s sewer system can handle extra sewage and water from the duplexes, and they were ensured it can.

Concern also was expressed about additional traffic in the already busy intersection of Second Street and Community Drive. Gray and Cornwell both said since 20 duplexes are planned instead of 52 apartments, there would be fewer people residing there and less traffic.

After the second reading of the ordinance, Councilman Chad Hubbard asked Cornwell when he plans to start construction.

“Mr. (Jonathan) Isaacs is working on the infrastructure, so I don’t have an exact start date,” Cornwell said, referring to the engineer.

Hubbard said he asked because of the ongoing construction project going on at SHS and one planned for 2024 on West Second Street.

Doug Gregory, assistant superintendent for Seymour Water Pollution Control, said construction is getting ready to move from the Second Street side of SHS to the Community Drive side, so that might help with some traffic congestion in the area.

With the West Second Street project, plans call for full-depth pavement reconstruction from Lasher Drive east to Pine Street and resurfacing from Pine Street east to Indianapolis Avenue for a total of 1.25 miles. Bids are set to be let in September with construction scheduled to start in the spring of 2024 and end that fall.

City Engineer Bernie Hauersperger, who also serves on the plan commission, said he would meet with Cornwell to coordinate the new development.

“I don’t intend on doing anything to hurt the city’s progress there. I’m more than happy to work with the city there to keep everything moving forward the way the city would like it,” Cornwell said.

“I just know it’s hectic there now,” Hubbard said. “Then with our project starting, it’s going to be even more hectic. Then having another project there. Not to hinder this whatsoever because I think it’s a great spot. Just a question I had.”