JEFFERSONVILLE — A proposed permanent supportive housing complex has been turned down by the Jeffersonville City Council for the third time.
After two previous attempts to put the 45-unit Mariposa Springs in other areas of Jeffersonville failed, developer BWI eyed a plot of land owned by Jesse Ballew Enterprises at 241 Eastern Blvd.
Members of the community have been outspoken in their opposition to the complex — which would house the homeless and disabled — since learning that the location was being considered. On July 16, the Claysburg Neighborhood Association hosted a public meeting at the Ken Ellis Center with Gary Hobbs, CEO of BWI.
Many of the same individuals then voiced their concerns at the Jeffersonville Plan Commission meeting that followed, where Ballew sought a favorable recommendation for rezoning the land. The commission unanimously denied that request.
With an unfavorable recommendation before them, Jeffersonville City Council members followed suit by voting down the proposal, 9-0.
Among those who have spoken out against placing the complex in Claysburg is Tony Lyttle. He said he was happy that the council took his and his neighbors' concerns seriously.
"I think it's great that they listened to the people this time," Lyttle said. "I understand that there is a homeless problem here, but I don't think it's right to the people that have been loyal to Jeffersonville. My family came here in 1878. To be here and pay taxes that long and help with the city through things like the 1937 flood, it's crazy that something like this was considered."
The presence of the complex, he said, would impact the entire city.
"It's not just Claysburg that's affected by it," Lyttle said. "It's downtown Jeff, east end, west end, north and south."
Council member Dustin White, who represents Claysburg, said that the area is seeing new growth for the first time in several years. Mariposa Springs, he noted, would be a step backward.
"Despite some of the comments that were made tonight, there is change happening in Claysburg, and it is being revitalized," White said. "This is one project we don't need."
It's unclear if BWI will try a different location in the future. If the company chooses to do so, White said it might be more appropriate to consider more commercial areas.
"At a minimum, I hope they would understand that unless an area is already zoned to what they're trying to do, it might not be welcomed," White said. "It's more appropriate in a less residential area, maybe a commercial area. Then, the people would already have access to things like grocery stores and transportation. It's not something that should be adjacent to neighborhoods."