By MATT KOESTERS
Not in our backyard. Or at the entrance to our subdivision.
That’s the message that residents of Jeffersonville’s Stony Brook subdivision sent to the city’s plan commission last week when they showed up en masse to oppose the approval of a development plan and zoning change that would pave the way for the construction of a storage facility.
River Center Station LLC, represented by Alan Applegate of Applegate Fifer Pulliam, was to appear before the plan commission to request that the zoning classification at 5506 Ind. 62 be changed from C1 to C2. The zoning change would allow River Center Station to request a variance before the city’s board of zoning appeals to allow for the storage facility.
But when 20-plus Stony Brook residents showed up at the plan commission meeting to speak against the proposed development, Applegate requested that the matter be tabled by the board.
“We tabled in the hopes of meeting with the various representatives of the board of the home owner’s association to try to listen to and assuage their concerns,” Applegate said.
Bonnie Walker, a Stony Brook resident, said she was concerned that the location of the business adjacent to the entrance to the neighborhood would hurt property values.
“I think they’re ugly. There’s nothing uglier,” Walker said. “Why do I oppose it? My gosh, would anyone want storage buildings right next to their subdivision? No. They’re ugly.”
Joining the residents in opposition at the meeting was City Councilman Bryan Glover, who represents the district in which Stony Brook is located.
“I was just here to offer them support and guide them through the process,” Glover said.
The opponents to the location of a storage facility on the property have friends in high places. Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who used to live nearby, said he shares the sentiment, and called the planned storage facility “a bad use of the property.”
“I’m open to any ideas the developers have, but when I hear something that’s basically a metal building that doesn’t bring any employees with it, that doesn’t offer anything as far as an attractiveness, that’s not what I want to see for Jeffersonville,” Moore said. “A great place for storage units would be Clarksville.”
Applegate said he hopes to get the property developer and the residents together to explain the plan in more detail and assuage the residents’ concerns. He said the managing partner of River Center Station, Victor Unruh, believes that the location of a storage facility would provide a buffer between the neighborhood and other planned commercial businesses to be located on adjacent lots.
“What they were trying to do with these units was, in essence, create a buffer area between the balance of that parcel and the neighborhood, and to have a use that had less light, less traffic than the other commercial uses that will ultimately be on the front of that property,” Applegate said. “Our client had perceived that having buildings there without much traffic would create a sufficient buffer to light and vehicular traffic away from their subdivision, that it would be desirable for the property owners.”
A C1 zoning classification allows for a variety of commercial uses, including restaurants, convenience stores, banks, office spaces and car-related businesses like repair shops and car washes. A C2 classification permits gas stations, hospitals, nurseries and hotels, and also makes the property eligible for a larger variety of variances through the board of zoning appeals.
A message requesting comment left with attorney Justin Endres with Young, Lind, Endres & Kraft, who represents the Stony Brook Home Owner’s Association, was not returned by press time.
ON THE WEB
• View Jeffersonville’s zoning ordinance and a list of acceptable uses by classification at cityofjeff.net