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Developers’ PUD plan rejected

Two developers who had planned 2-1/2 years ago to build four professional office building condominiums on 2.4 acres behind the Holiday Inn Express and Old Capitol Place shopping mall in north Corydon had their request for a zoning change turned down last week by the Corydon Plan Commission.
Roger Harbeson and Dave Poe, accompanied by Corydon realtor Vicki Kitterman, explained to the commission that their first two-story brick professional condominium building located on Concord Avenue in Lot 8 of Lafayette Square Business Center had ‘met resistance from the market’ and has been vacant for a year.
The two figured that if they changed the zoning from B2 (business) to a planned unit development (PUD) their office space, called Pointe North Properties, might be more attractive to doctors, lawyers, CPAs or other professionals who want to buy a building plus some land around it with landscaping and lighting. If their building sells, Harbeson and Poe told the commission that they would immediately start on the second building in their four-building plan.
The infrastructure ‘ water, sewer, roads ‘ is in place.
The land adjoining the buildings, however, would be a 114-spot parking area, divided into four lots and controlled ‘proportionally’ by all the owners. The triangular parking lot would funnel down to a 30-foot wide entrance on Federal Drive. The plan commission requires a business to have 100 feet of frontage road.
‘The variance would be the street frontage ‘ it’s less than 100 feet,’ said Harbeson.
‘What will this do for the town?’ asked commission member Steve Kitterman. ‘PUDs have to benefit the town,’ board chair Dr. Len Waite reminded the builders.
‘We will develop the project faster and put it on the tax rolls for the town,’ Poe said. The 6,000-square-foot building has been vandalized once, and the developers want to get it occupied, at least for public safety reasons, if not advertising.
‘The market will determine what sells or how … It doesn’t change the scope of the project,’ said Harbeson.
Why will a PUD make it sell? asked Waite.
‘People will want to own it. They don’t like the condo office space idea. They say, ‘We want to buy a building and a piece of ground to own’,’ Harbeson said. ‘It will give us a different mechanism to market the project.’
Waite questioned why a building owner would want to own part of a parking lot that he/she could not control because they would have to share it with the other building owners.
This is an office complex, not a home and a garage, Poe said.
Commission member Fred Cammack said he feared that if the developers don’t sell the first building, they won’t build the other three, and the taxes ‘won’t change a penny.’
Harbeson said if they sell the first bulding, they would commit to building the second. ‘You always take a risk with this kind of project or a subdivision,’ Poe said. ‘It may take a long time. Eventually, the project will move with all that’s going on out there,’ he said.
But if the board let the developers have a 30-foot frontage, they would never stop hearing from other developers who would want the same thing, said Waite, who admitted he was ‘dumbfounded’ by the PUD request, which would give the plan commission considerable control over the ultimate design of the project.
‘Are you sure you want to give that up?’ he asked. The developers said the PUD designation would not alter the general architectural design. Waite suggested tabling the matter until the next meeting, but the other commission members stayed silent.
Cammack said, ‘It’s not an appropriate reason for a PUD. It’s a short-cut to sell it.’
Steve Kitterman said, ‘There’s no benefit to the town,’ and he moved to reject the proposal. His motion carried 5-0.
Requests by developer Steve Hoehn and Harrison County Animal Control Officer Mike Gentry were handled more swiftly.
In 2001, Hoehn got permission to develop 34 lots on 34 acres for his Southern Heights Subdivision on the west side of S.R. 337 about one mile south of Corydon. Phase One was platted in 2002. Now, Hoehn has asked for permission to develop Phase Two, or 12 lots on just over 11 acres. Covenants are finished, a letter of credit and performance bond have all been completed, and the county engineer, Kevin Russel, has signed off on the project, said surveyor-engineer-consultant Jason Copperwaite, speaking on behalf of Hoehn.
Hoehn said he is in the process of buying the land for phases II and III.
Hoehn’s request was quickly approved by a 5-0 vote.
Mike Gentry’s request for a free-standing sign advertising the Harrison County Animal Control facility off Quarry Road in the Harrison County Industrial Park was also approved 5-0.