The Shelbyville Plan Commission approved a preliminary plat design this week for a new subdivision located at the Summerford-Fansler property.

The plan commission approved the rezoning of 12 acres near Progress Parkway last month so that acreage could be combined with an additional 68 acres for an 187-lot subdivision. Forestar Group is the developer.

The initial plat was presented at the last meeting but was not voted on. After receiving some feedback, a Forestar representative edited the plan to include a playground, trails, and mounding/landscaping along Progress Parkway.

Melissa Garrard, Entitlements Manager for Forestar, explained the subdivision would have two entrances, one on Amos Road and one at Progress Parkway on the east side of the division (Progress Parkway lines the east side of the lot and wraps to the south of the property).

The site plan has a crosswalk planned for Amos Road.

Garrard said they didn’t include an entrance on the southern part of the property because the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) wouldn’t allow for it: “The existing curbcut was not to subdivision entrance standards per your UDO. It would’ve had to have been completely demolished and we would’ve had to start from scratch.”

The subdivision will have two wet ponds to alleviate flooding.

“Functionally, especially the northern pond, has been designed to over-detain on this site,” Garrard said. “We are really constricting down the rate of release of discharge on this site.”

Garrard added the property would include a wildflower garden that will simulate the design of the garden at Blue River Memorial Park.

The division will also have mounding dirt along Progress Parkway to provide privacy for the homes bordering that road. Forestar had to request a variance from the UDO for perimeter landscaping.

Garrard proposed half of the landscaping requirements be completed on the Summerford Subdivision property and the other half be in the right of way (or on city owned property).

The planning staff determined that the proposed waiver and commitment to locate half of the landscape area within the right of way will satisfy the intent of the ordinance, according to the Preliminary Plat report posted to the city’s website.

“This proposed commitment will also provide for general aesthetic improvements in the corridor that would not have been present before, so we feel as thought this request serves as a benefit to both the petitioner as well as the general public,” the report read.

The subdivision will have an asphalt trail running east to west through the neighborhood and a sidewalk trail north to south.

“We actually pulled some plans on Twin Lakes, and there is at least one area of Twin Lakes that has a similar sidewalk area, pedestrian access, so we decided to use that as a model,” Garrard said.

These trails satisfy the UDO’s intent of providing sufficient pedestrian connections, which allows Forestar to request a variance in block length. A block normally needs to be 800 feet long to allow for pedestrian connections, however the board approved for three segments of streets to be longer than this because of the trail access.

The landscaping and block length were the only two variances Forestar requested with this plat. The Plan Commission approved the preliminary plat and the variances.

Crosswalk, drainage concerns

A member of the public, speaking on behalf of the Eagle Brook subdivision, expressed concerns about traffic flow. Eagle Brook is located off Amos Road, south of McKay Road.

“We feel we’re probably going to have close to 500 cars in this addition, and they’re all flowing out to Amos Road or the east side,” he said. “We would love to see – we want that southern entrance as it is.”

Fire Chief Tony Logan expressed similar traffic concern.

“Since the [Golden Bear Preschool] ..., there’s a lot of traffic on that road,” he said. “Especially in the morning and the afternoon when kids are getting in and out of school. If you’re going to put a crosswalk right there like they did in the other two locations – we already have problems with people not stopping for those on the crosswalks.”

Garrard said the 500-car estimate is an overestimate, and most of the residents of her subdivision would go toward Progress Parkway.

“Anything upstream on Amos Road is beyond my capacity to address here, but we’ve complied to do what we think we can do,” she said.

The public also expressed concern about drainage issues. Garrard responded saying that the drainage plan on the site is going to significantly improve the water runoff from its current state.

“We are capturing around the perimeters and internally all of the water that our property would be generating through a system of inlets and ponds and things like that, so we will basically be cutting off the water that would normally flow outside of our property and routing it through our drainage system and releasing it at a controlled rate,” Garrard said.

With a staff recommendation, the Plan Commission unanimously approved the preliminary plat proposal with both variances.

Garrard also requested a termination of written commitments regarding the property submitted to the Plan Commission back in 1998. The Plan Commission approved this resolution.

“It’s not necessary, but as a lawyer I want to have everything cleaned up for closing and title,” she explained. “It affects our title insurance, it potentially affects our buyers – we would have problems actually conveying after we transfer the lot.”

The Plan Commission also discussed a petition by Christian Investments to rezone acreage on a landlocked parcel for an apartment complex. Read more in a later edition of The Shelbyville News.