By Marda Johnson –
Oct 12, 2016 –
A zoning change that will allow Hoosier Village to expand has been approved by the Zionsville Town Council — but not unanimously.
The matter received a vote at the town council meeting Monday, Oct. 3, after a discussion prompted by Councilman Josh Garrett.
Garrett said the change that would clear the way for 150 townhomes and seven estate lots will add to the town’s population but not its tax base. The property’s owner, BHI Senior Living Communities, is a nonprofit faith-based foundation.
Garrett first voiced concern about allowing the zoning change at the morning meeting of the town council a week earlier. Because neither the Zionsville director of planning nor a representative of BHI were present at that time, a vote on the zoning change was tabled at that meeting.
When it returned before the council last week, representatives of BHI and Zionsville Director of Planning and Economic Development Wayne DeLong were present to answer questions about the future development.
Garrett stressed his concerns were not about BHI or Hoosier Village but about the amount of services that would be used by the tax-exempt properties. Based on his own calculations, if the project were to be undertaken by a for-profit entity, it would generate $600,000 in taxes, he said. He also questioned if the development would have an unfair advantage in the marketplace, because the tax savings would allow Hoosier Village to offer lower rents and better services than its tax-paying competitors, or potentially generate more cash flow for its stakeholders.
“I know it’s a good deal for BHI and also for the residents, but what about the community?” Garrett asked.
Spokesmen for the development noted that BHI had acquired the land 10 years ago, before that area was annexed into Zionsville, and that the land had always been intended to be used as a part of Hoosier Village, which they said is an asset to the community.