“I know there’s concerns that have been raised about the impact it would have to the neighborhood, and I think certainly INDOT could say we have zero desire to be a negative impact on any neighborhood,” said Kevin Hetrick, design director and deputy project manager with INDOT.
He added that an occupancy covenant was also part of the purchase agreement for whomever buys the home. It requires they be the owner-occupant for a minimum of five years.
In addition, Scott Adams, director of real estate for INDOT, said by adding the home to the lot it would put the property value at $87,000. He noted that the other properties on the same black ranged from $56,300 to $88,700. INDOT officials said the values came from the Clark County Auditor’s office.
“In essence, the insertion of this property into the block raises the overall average of the homes in that stretch of the block,” Adams said. “We didn’t ask to move these houses, much like we didn’t ask to build a tunnel under a piece of property in the east end of Louisville either, but it’s part of the project.”
He added the variance was sought as a last resort.
A number of residents opposed the relocation of the home to their block, claiming it would be a public-safety hazard and a blight on the neighbors.
“Asking us, in our community, to do less than the minimum required by code harms public safety,” said Mark Boyd, a Maple Street resident. “This house will sit empty for some period of time. We’re aware of the five-year covenant stipulation, but it provides no comfort. Five years passes fairly quickly. After that five years, what happens?” he asked.
He called the covenants that will be part of the contract to sell the homes “paper tigers” and they would not offer the guarantees to the community.