Letter from the President
Your Board members have recently met with a new prospective developer of the property at 200 W. Sycamore. The proposed development is known as Sycamore Flats and would require a change of the property’s zoning. The potential rezoning of any property within the village has always been a hotly contested subject amongst its residents and business owners. I am mindful that as information is released people will develop strong opinions.
At this time my intention is for the ZVRA to provide our members with the most current information. For those of you who wish to get involved in supporting or opposing this project, please revisit are website for the latest information.
The Zionsville Neighborhood Action Group (ZNAG) is in opposition to the project and is looking to have residents of the village speak out at any Town meetings related to the Sycamore Flats project. ZNAG’s opposition is fueled by the amount of apartments that are proposed along with the traffic issues that will be incurred. Access to the apartments would be via a single entrance/exit, onto/from, Sycamore between Second and Third St.
In the coming weeks, as we find out more information, The ZVRA will be putting together a survey in which each village residents can voice their opinions so that the ZVRA can provide the results to its members and the Town. If anyone is interested in helping to develop the survey please contact myself or another Board Member.
I’m beginning to question Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring. Looking forward to seeing you all around the village.
Town Council Insights:
The Town Council recently approved two industrial projects on the northwest side of our Town. These two projects, one by Becknell and one by VanTrust, will create warehouse-type facilities that will allow for specialized industrial use in that area. Industrial can be a scary word, however looking at the type of uses, they are more akin to high-tech manufacturing and logistics instead of environmental disaster areas.
One area I’ve tried to focus on over my 3 years, along with Mayor Haak, is economic development and continuing to diversify our tax base. To put these projects into real dollar perspectives, over the next 10 years these projects will pay the town $7.7 million in property taxes. The empty ground they are building on would have paid $77,000 over that same timeframe. That is a huge win for the Town, and is money that can be spent on roads, police, fire and other Town services.
There are two major downsides to this arrangement. The first is that the jobs these projects will create are not high-paying. This will create additional pressure on infrastructure in that area, and will be servicing employees that most likely do not live in Zionsville. The second downside is to lure these companies we had to offer a 10-year sliding scale tax abatement (the $7.7 million number above is a net number after the abatement).
I was very hesitant to throw out a tax abatement just because it is ask for, especially when the jobs being lured are not high-paying. I did a lot of research on this matter, working with the Boone EDC, our own Economic Development group, and various real estate developers and brokers throughout the Town. My conclusion was the market demands these types of rebates and are a part of the negotiation for new industrial and distribution leases. Without them, projects are overlooked and the finances do not work, which means a project is not built. Given the opportunity to earn $7.7 million over $77,000 in 10 years, and much more in the years the followed, it felt like a reasonable give to benefit the Town.
We did negotiate a few extras for the Town, including the developers paying for the legal setup work, and them working with the neighbors on increased landscaping, buffering and offering water service into the adjoining development. Their willingness to work with the Town and the neighbors made it apparent they would be good partners. One final demand was that they not appeal their property tax assessments over the course of the abatement period. There is a disturbing trend going on in retail called the “Dark Store” theory. This is being used all over Indiana by big box developers that claim their $20 million building is now worth 10% of that value because if it was vacant, that would be the assessed amount. This is happening right now in Whitestown with Meijer appealing their assessment, and that is not unusual. Unfortunately, it is an effective strategy, and backed by current State law, and puts the tax burden back on residents. You can read more on what is happening here:
Personally, I think it is immoral of these companies to be doing this, despite good for their bottom line. While Zionsville has a “Big Box” ordinance that prevents these types of stores from going in, it is also being practiced by Walgreens, CVS, and others in our Town. I have been supportive of our County Councilors meeting with State Representatives to get the law changed.
Both developers have agreed to not pursue this strategy over the next 10 years, and I’m hopeful our State will have corrected this glitch by the time this expires.
(Sorry for the tangent)
Not all economic growth is the same, and we wouldn’t want these types of developments in other areas of our Town (certainly not the Village). I’m always supportive of smart growth, and growth in areas that makes sense to corresponding developments. I can finally tell my parents those years of playing Sim City on my computer are paying off. As you can see from the below map, there are other similar projects in that area, although they are in Whitestown, which was the final reason I was supportive of their proposal.
Here’s hoping we’ll have warm weather … or even dry weather on the way soon!
“ It takes a heap of living to make a house a home. “A house is a home when it becomes part of you, a friend at the end of the day, like a friend you care for and tend to and who in return offers shelter from emotional and physical storms. When it’s like your own “skin”, even with its “scars”, and filled to the chimney top with your love.”, ~~from “Big Bill”
The 1910 home of Jennifer Blandford and Mark Amman is located on the corner of West Walnut and 4 th St, Below are photos of the house as it looked in 1986 when the wrap around porch was built. A major remodel occurred in 2003 when house was taken down to its studs to bring wiring, plumbing, insulation up to code. The long, narrow dining room space, added much earlier, was enlarged and the roof above extended to create space for a master bedroom and bath. Jennifer and Mark purchased the home in _____? and have made many improvements, shown below, resulting in a grand master suite, updates to the kitchen, family room area. Jennifer: “I love the location, the lot size, the fantastic neighbors and being close to my mom. These (Village) houses have withstood 110 winters, even longer for some, with all their memorable histories.”
submitted by Delma Mindel
Press Release: Art IN Hand Gallery
211 South Main Street, Zionsville, IN 46077
Open Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.
Art IN Hand Gallery will be featuring student artwork in March from Zionsville Middle School, Jennifer Gibson.
The next “Art After Five” (First Friday) will be March 1, 5 – 8pm. This is an excellent opportunity for everyone to view the new student artwork on display. Stop by for light refreshments and enjoy all of the artwork.
ZIONSVILLE’S 10 th Annual YOUTH ART MONTH
Youth Art Month (YAM) is an annual observation each March to emphasize the value of art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs. Established in 1961, Youth Art Month provides a forum for acknowledging skills that are fostered through experience in the visual arts that are not possible in other subjects offered in the curriculum.
THE PURPOSE OF YOUTH ART MONTH:
To direct attention to the value of art education which develops divergent critical
thinking; multicultural awareness; as well as technical, communication, and expressive skills.
To increase community, business, governmental support for art education.
To recognize art is a necessity for the full development of a better quality life for all people.
To expand art programs in schools and stimulate new programing.
To increase community understanding and interest in art art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures.
To provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative learning.
To encourage commitment to the arts by student, community organizations and individuals everywhere.
To recognize art education as a viable component in the total education curricula that develops citizens of a global society.
To reflect demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education on all levels.
To build the recognition and self-esteem of student artists as true artists in their own right.
YOUTH ART MONTH ACTIVITIES AND ART DISPLAYS IN ZIONSVILLE:
Artwork created by students of the Zionsville Fine Arts Department (Grades 1-12) will be on display at the following Zionsville establishments throughout the month of March:
Art IN Hand
Bites by Confectioneiress
Black Dog Books
Bub’s Burgers and Ice cream
The Butler Pantry
Corner Vise Gallery Frame Shop
Endurance Bike Company
Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library
Indiana Realtors Group
Jewel Box Jewelers
Michele’s On Main
Old National Bank
Robert Goodman Jewelers
Sullivan Munce Cultural Center
The Wine Guy
ZCS Educational Services Center
First Friday Receptions
will be held on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 5-7 pm @
Goodman’s Jewelers, Sullivan Munce Cultural Center and Fivethirty Home
Free Art Classes will be held at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library during the month of March.
Additional information and registration is available at: http://www.zionsville.lib.in.us/hmmpl/page/events
March 23 rd , from 10:00-11:00 / “Printmaking Painting” workshop
Lead by ZMS art teachers, Abby Albright Jen Gibson