GOSHEN — Plans for the construction of a new 90-unit apartment complex near Goshen Middle School on the city’s south side got the green light from Goshen City Council members during their meeting Tuesday evening.
At the meeting, council members voted unanimously to approve a request by Greenwood Rental Properties LLC and Jones Petrie Rafinski to rezone a .7-acre parcel of vacant land located at the northeast corner of Indiana Avenue and Plymouth Avenue from Agricultural A-1 to Residential R-3. The vote followed a similar recommendation by Goshen Plan Commission members during their Oct. 20 meeting.
According to Rhonda Yoder, planning and zoning administrator for the city, the plan with the requested rezoning involves adding the small .7-acre parcel to a surrounding 3.93-acre parcel of vacant land, which was also recently rezoned from A-1 to R-3, with the ultimate goal of constructing approximately 90 apartments on the site.
“The subject property is a single tax parcel, approximately .7 acres, with 152 feet of frontage along Plymouth Avenue and 192 feet of frontage along Indiana Avenue,” Yoder said of the property in question. “The land use in the area is a mix of residential, institutional and commercial, with a gas station, convenience store and car wash on the southwest corner, and medical and professional offices along Indiana and Plymouth.”
Yoder noted that the requested change to R-3 zoning was needed due to the fact that R-3 is the only zoning district that permits multi-unit residential development.
INCREASE IN SCOPE
Council members approved a rezoning of the surrounding 3.93-acre parcel back in July at the request of Greenwood Rental Properties LLC, which at the time had not yet purchased the .7-acre parcel located immediately at the corner of Indiana and Plymouth avenues.
Originally, Greenwood Rental Properties had indicated interest in constructing a four-building, 48-unit apartment complex on the 3.93-acre site, given the smaller size of the property, though Yoder during the plan commission’s Oct. 20 meeting noted that the company had since been able to purchase the remaining .7-acre parcel, and thus had the ability to significantly increase the scope of the planned apartment complex.
“The proposed rezoning to Residential R-3 is requested to allow development with the adjacent rezoned parcel, for approximately 90 apartments in five buildings,” Yoder said of the overall plan. “Based on the rezoning site plan, all developmental requirements of the R-3 District are able to be met, including setbacks, density and parking. Dedication of right of way, 40 feet from the centerline east, is required along Indiana Avenue to meet arterial street requirements.”
According to Andrew Cunningham, an architect with Jones Petrie Rafinski, the site’s five buildings are currently proposed to be three stories in height, with each building including 18 apartment units as well as a section dedicated to parking on the first level.
Speaking to site access, Cunningham noted that just one street access is planned for the complex on Indiana Avenue, aligning with the southern access drive of the First Baptist Church to the west. Right and left hand turn lanes coming into the site will also be added to help improve traffic flow.
Cunningham also noted the existing sidewalk along Indiana Avenue will be retained and relocated as needed, and a new sidewalk is proposed along the site’s Plymouth Avenue frontage.
As for landscaping, the site’s conceptual landscape plan includes streetside trees along Indiana and Plymouth avenues, parking lot trees, a communal greenspace within the complex, and partial landscaping adjacent to residential land use to the north and east.
IN DIRE NEED
Council president Brett Weddell was among those to speak in favor of the proposed apartment complex Tuesday, noting that he felt the plan was a great fit for the area in question.
“This is just one more piece of the puzzle that the city of Goshen needs. We are in dire need of more market-rate housing,” Weddell said of the project. “There has been a lot of conversation about this corner, and what is a best fit for there. We’ve had conversations about a strip mall with a discount store. We’ve had conversations about a gas station. I think this is probably the best option as far as traffic impact. So, I’m thrilled that the petitioner was able to acquire this, and start meeting more of the need of the housing for Goshen.”
Speaking to concerns of increased traffic at the site by some council members, Dustin Sailor, director of public works for the city, noted that he personally felt the proposed plan would actually improve traffic flow through the busy Indiana Avenue/Plymouth Avenue intersection, rather than hinder it further.
“I do not have any concerns,” Sailor told the council. “There was a traffic study completed for this intersection. Initially going into this we did have some concerns, but they are making major improvements that we feel will not only benefit this development, but the community as a whole.”
Kyle Richardson, a Goshen resident, also spoke out in favor of the plan Tuesday.
“This development, going up to 90 units, there’s a big concern about traffic with this development. But I think it’s important to recognize that every person that is walking, or biking, or using transit, is a person who is not in a vehicle,” Richardson said. “This development is less than two miles from downtown, and less than two miles from Linway Plaza. That’s a 30-minute walk, or a 6- to 8-minute bike ride. The city is growing. We’re going to have more housing. We’re going to have more traffic. I think putting as much housing as close to our downtown areas and our existing infrastructure as possible is a good thing to do when traffic is a concern.”
In the end, the council’s members agreed, and a motion to grant the rezoning request was approved unanimously on both first and final readings.