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Saturday, January 24 2009

The developers of new west side development have to reassess their plans for a mix use development of student housing and commercial business development.

Majestic Place, LLC has met with opponents to find a solution to build on the 220 acres they own. Some of the most common concerns had to do with the intersection of the West Lloyd Expressway and University Parkway and the types of businesses that may occupy Majestic Place.

Changes to West Side development likely

 

Earlier this week, representatives of Majestic Place LLC met with opponents about their plans to have roughly 220 acres northwest of the University of Southern Indiana rezoned to allow businesses and apartments to open there. Gene Pfeiffer, the owner of the land, said the meeting lasted almost three hours and the suggested changes written down by his attorney filled nearly four pages.

 

Some of the most common concerns had to do with the intersection of the West Lloyd Expressway and University Parkway and the types of businesses that may occupy Majestic Place.

 

“I don’t think we have ruled out anything that was discussed,” Pfeiffer said. “Some of the things are not reasonable, but there will be changes I’m pretty sure.”

 

According to plans, about 110 acres at Majestic Place would be occupied by businesses. Fifty acres would go to student housing and another 50 to an assisted-living home.

 

Pfeiffer’s land is now zoned for agriculture. That designation will have to be changed before the project can proceed.

 

The Area Plan Commission recommended the rezonings in November and the Vanderburgh County Commissioners were to vote on them Tuesday. But to give the developers and opponents time to reach a compromise, the commissioners agreed to postpone their decision.

 

Pfeiffer said it’s too early to identify any specific changes which may come out of the talks. The cost of the various proposal must be weighed to see which are practical.

 

He was also unsure when Majestic Place would be put to a formal vote again. Any modifications will have be submitted to the plan commission, which would once again have an opportunity to recommend them to the commissioners.

 

One of the residents’ primary concerns is the intersection of the West Lloyd Expressway and University Parkway. It is already busy from being the route many students take to the university campus.

 

The traffic will only increase once the parkway is extended to Diamond Avenue, a project to be completed by 2012 or 2013. Even further out, the road will connect with Interstate 64.

 

To prevent vehicles from backing up on the Lloyd Expressway, the right of way at the intersection was given to cars coming from the east and turning left onto University Parkway. The arrangement has made turns from other directions difficult and dangerous.

 

The intersection is the chief concern of H. Ray Hoops, USI president, who otherwise declined to comment on Majestic Place. It is likewise in the sights of the Westside Improvement Association, which has also been opposed to some of the plans.

 

Fred Padget, a member of the assocation’s land-use committee, said he would like a solution that avoids placing stoplights on University Parkway. He suggested building a frontage road to allow traffic to get to Majestic Place.

 

“We made lots of mistakes on Highway 41 and the Lloyd Expressway,” he said. “Let’s not repeat that.”

 

Pfeiffer said the intersection troubles would exist with or without Majestic Place. The responsibility of making improvements falls to the state, he said.

 

Still, he recognizes the developers will have to find a way to ease the flow of traffic going to and from Majestic Place.

 

The residents also worry about the types of businesses which may be allowed to open shop in Majestic Place. Under the current proposal, the land for businesses is to be zoned “C4,” one of the most permissive designations under county regulations.

 

Critics would prefer the zoning be lowered to “C2,” noting that is the designation for the site of the Target shopping center on the East Side.

 

“It is one of the aesthetically pleasing developments in Vanderburgh County,” said Michael Lockard, a member of the Westside Improvement Association.

 

He and others also want certain establishments banned from Majestic Place. They include fraternities, sororities, liquor stores, tattoo parlors and strip clubs.

 

Les Shively, an attorney representing the developers, said the developers had already agreed to ban many of them before the meeting this week.

 

“Whenever you do a development, you to try make it a profitable venture,” he said. “C4 could developer more options.”

 

Maintaining the appearance of the area is also important to many. Steve Anslinger, who lives near the university on Mels Drive, said he has long enjoyed a view of a nearby lake and is worried the presence of new businesses and apartments would ruin it.

 

“We thought we were land locked,” he said. “But you know it’s Vanderburgh County.”

 

Pfeiffer said he is especially dismayed by assertions that he would do anything to detract from the beauty of the area. Over the years, he has spent much time and money planting trees and improving the lake.

“They are concerned about what I would do to these beautiful things I have created,” Pfeiffer. “There are thousands of trees here. I didn’t do that to go out and destroy it.”

 

Source: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/jan/22/22web-WestSide/

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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