The other topic of Monday evening’s Shelbyville Plan Commission meeting pertained to rezoning a property to build an apartment complex.

Christian Investments LLC owns a landlocked parcel with the address 1451 W. McKay Road. This parcel of land lies directly to the south of a parcel Christian Investments already owns containing a 16-unit apartment complex.

The design of the new project has already been before the Board of Zoning Appeals to request a few variances. The petitioner originally wanted to build a three-story apartment complex on this land that would have 96 units, more than twice what the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) would allow.

This design received quite a bit of pushback from the public Monday. Neighbors to the property (which is surrounded by single family residential houses) expressed concerns about the increase in traffic, especially because this property is close to Shelbyville Middle and High schools. They also expressed flooding concerns.

The BZA granted the petitioner a variance to build 50 lots on the property if the Plan Commission approves the rezoning from two-family residential to Multiple Family Residential.

Crystal Kent from Prince Alexander Architecture, the firm Christian Investments hired to design the complex, spoke on behalf of the petitioner.

“We’ve been very grateful for the letters from the public,” she said. “We’ve made changes based on their input and it’s quite valuable to us. I’m delighted to report our research has yielded some important facts. Hopefully this will answer some questions.”

Kent said that city regulations require the site have complete water retention.

“That will help with some of the flooding neighbors will have and will not make it worse,” she said.

Kent also said that Christian Investments will perform a traffic study and is happy to abide by the recommendations based on the results of that study.

“There’s been some concern about attracting crime,” she added. “There’s no data I can find to support that.”

Several members of the public submitted letters to the Plan Commission requesting they not approve it. Others spoke during the meeting.

“There’s a lot of questions that our people have that live there,” said neighbor Ron Mitchell. “We’ve heard a lot of different things. One was a retention pond, one was a gated community that would open up to our one way street – we have no outlet on Simpson Lane. Just a lot of different questions we’d like to have answered regarding our concerns.”

“I’ve talked to a couple of people who would like to know more about the traffic situation on McKay Road,” Mitchell continued. “You know, we’re just a short distance to the middle school and high school, and buses come by once or twice a day.”

Another member of the public asked what kind of apartments were going to be built – “Is it three story? Two story? One story?”

Their questions were unanswered. Plan Commission President Mike Evans explained how this process works.

“Tonight, we are strictly here for a recommendation for a zone change that would go to City Council,” he said. “The Council then would have to vote on whether or not to change the zoning on this particular parcel of land. I know its really hard, they kind of put the cart before the horse, they went to BZA first with a project for that piece of land. But the project can’t even be thought of in our opinion until the zoning is addressed by the City Council.”

Plan Commission member Gary Nolley said he didn’t think the zoning fit the parcel.

“It’s a small area,” he said. “I think it’s better suited for additional condos or some kind of green space use.”

Plan Commission member Joe Lux said he thinks in order for development to be done on this land, it needs to be rezoned.

Nolley motioned to send an unfavorable recommendation to council, which member Josh Martin seconded. The motion did not carry, 5-4.

A following motion to send a favorable recommendation to council was made and it carried 5-4.

“This now has a favorable recommendation that is going to City Council, and they will be the ones who will approve or will not approve a zoning change on this parcel of land,” Evans told those attending the meeting. “If City Council approves the zoning change, then a project would be submitted back to the plan commission, and that’s when you would attend to voice concerns with the project at hand.”