Common Council presented plans for two new projects

City of Shelbyville Plan Commission director Adam Rude (at podium) addresses the Shelbyville Common Council Monday night at City Hall. Rude is flanked by attorney Peter DePrez, who delivered a presentation on a potential gas/convenience store that would be built at the intersection of Miller Avenue and McKay Road (State Road 44).

The first Shelbyville Common Council meeting of 2020, which included three new council members and a new clerk-treasurer, closed with a pair of presentations about the potential for a new gas/convenience store on the city’s west side and a 263-house subdivision near Interstate 74.

Peter DePrez, from the law firm of Brown, DePrez and Johnson, representing the Showers property which is located at the corner of Miller Avenue and McKay Road (State Road 44), presented a plan that is being worked on to build a gas station/convenience store on that site.

“I don’t know how long this corner has been talked about,” said DePrez. “It certainly has been for 12 years that I’ve been involved with this particular tract of ground.”

The city’s comprehensive plan identifies that area as a Priority Development Area but that land is not shovel ready.

“I can tell you that we have a signed agreement,” said DePrez. “In my 12 years of representing the Showers property, we’ve had a lot of lookers, we’ve had a lot of talk but I never felt really very strong with the people that were coming in until this one.”

DePrez indicated that the project is not yet formalized. Infrastructure costs are the issue at hand and the goal is to get the city to pay that some or all of that cost, which could go as high as $600,000 based on early estimates. 

The site plan for the convenience store is on one lot of 152.5 total acres belonging to the Showers family. The benefit to the city would be to assist a developer with addressing a need along a gateway entrance into Shelbyville and put infrastructure in place that would make the remaining property more attractive for future development.

“Why should you all do this? Because it is a way for development to take place out there,” said DePrez. “Do we have other possibilities with other lots? Yes. But they are not far enough along to turn to you and say that will happen.”

DeBaun informed the council that a meeting has taken place between himself, Shelby County Development Corporation executive director and city councilman Brian Asher, Greg Guerrettaz, the city’s financial advisor, the Showers family, developer Richard Block and DePrez. From that meeting, DeBaun asked Guerretaz to run a financial analysis of the request to see if it is reasonable. Those results are not yet available.

The council agreed to send the project to the city’s finance committee for further discussion.

“Whatever the deal is, it has to be a deal that is beneficial and makes sense to the city. We recognize that,” said DePrez. “If we can’t all get the numbers to work, it shouldn’t work.”

A second presentation came from Paul Munoz, entitlement manager with Arbor Homes, who is proposing a 263-home subdivision on the property known as Isabelle Farms, which is owned by Gordon Farms, LLC, according to Munoz.

The development will include 23 acres of open space and amenity areas including 10 acres of preserved wooded area, trails, a playground and common areas. Entrances into the subdivision will be built off State Road 9 and Michigan Road and the subdivision will be accessible off Rampart Road through the Rolling Ridge subdivision.

Councilwoman Joanne Bowen (D-First Ward) expressed concern over how the modern subdivision with nearly four houses per acre will fit in the area connecting to Rolling Ridge, a 60-year-old subdivision.

Munoz led a recent public meeting at the Shelby County Public Library to address concerns from residents living in the area of the proposed subdivision.

“It went very well,” said Munoz of the public meeting after the common council meeting Monday night. “I think a lot of people just want to understand what’s happening. A lot of rumors get started when they hear a large project coming in. It was a good opportunity to answer questions they had. I think they learned quite a bit and I learned about some of the issues that are out in the area, things we will work to address in our own way.

“We’re trying to be good neighbors in this and we want to not have a negative impact on anybody around us and everybody wanting us to be there.”

Munoz will present the project to the city’s plan commission tonight at 7 p.m.

“That is for the concept plan ... the overall design,” said Munoz.

Arbor Homes wants to break ground later in 2020, according to Munoz, and put houses on the ground in 2021.

In other common council business:

n Council roles and committees were filled for 2020 with Rob Nolley (R-At Large) being named president of the common council, Asher (R-At Large) was named vice-president of the council, Mike Johnson (R-Third Ward) was named the council reader, Scott Furgeson (R-Fourth Ward) is chairman of fees and salaries with Nathan Willis (R-Second Ward) and Johnson on the committee, Asher will chair the finance committee with Bowen and Willis on board, Nolley will chair the ordinance committee with Johnson and Furgeson filling it out, Nolley also will chair the tax abatement committee with Bowen and Tyson Conrady (R-Fifth Ward) on the committee.

n The city’s financial reports were approved

n Approved a resolution to create an economic revitalization area at the city’s newest industrial park on the east side of Shelbyville, which will include the new Greenleaf Foods manufacturing facility

“This will make (the land) more attractive to prospective purchasers because that means the grounds already qualify for tax abatement purposes,” said DePrez, who was representing the Redevelopment Commission, which has control of the land. “Before you can grant tax abatements, it has to be in a designated economic revitalization area. This takes this step out of the equation.”

n Approved a resolution to create an economic revitalization area for the land that Greenleaf Foods has already purchased.

“This makes the ground eligible for tax abatement,” explained DePrez. “Greenleaf is not far enough along in its design process to be able to tell you what the plant will exactly look like. When that happens, we will be back in front of you for an abatement for the project.”