It is with great sadness that I announce my resignation as your ZVRA President, as Cyndy and I will be moving out of the Village. The last year and a half has been great and I couldn’t have helped to lead this organization without the tireless efforts of our Members and the Board.
Julia Lennard, who has been a leading voice in the Sycamore Flats remonstration, has graciously volunteered to step into the role of President until the ZVRA votes on its new Board in November.
Jamie W. Reynolds
My name is Julia Leonard and it is my honor to serve as the Interim President of the Zionsville Village Residents’ Association. My family and I moved to Zionsville in December 2018 and while I may be new to the area, Sycamore Flats has given me the opportunity to meet many people in the Village and to become more involved in Village events. Despite the unrest surrounding the proposed development, I firmly believe that we live in a wonderful community filled with residents that are passionate about our Village.
I am relatively new to the Village and Zionsville but I am not new to Indiana. I grew up near Tell City in Southern Indiana and attended Indiana University for my bachelor’s degree. Most of my family still lives in Indiana so this is somewhat like moving home for me. My husband, Shane, and I have two young children, ages 5 and 2. We can often be found at Lions Park with the kids or walking/running in the area with our two dogs. I try to have the kids out as much as I can since the Village and Zionsville have such wonderful areas for them to explore.
As with previous Presidents, one of my goals this summer is to increase our membership. The residents of the Village are very involved in what is happening in our community and it would be great to see that passion extended to the VRA and it’s events. I plan to meet with Board Members in the near future to discuss an agenda and to set a date for our next VRA meeting.
I look forward to meeting all of you at a meeting soon!
I know the Sycamore Flats project remains top of mind for many of you.
I want to thank each of you that attended the May Town Council meeting. I know that was a long evening, it means a lot you were willing to spend your personal time on a topic you feel is important for the community. I was very proud of how the audience handled themselves during a very passionate meeting, and it helped Councilors listen to the arguments for and against this proposal and make an informed decision.
I wanted to share a few more of my notes on this project as I was doing my research.
There were concerns about the impact to Town resources if this was approved. I spoke with the heads of Economic Development (Wayne DeLong), Police (Rob Knox), Fire (Jamie VanGorder), Wasterwater (Barrry Cook), Streets and Stormwater (Lance Lantz) and Parks (Matt Dickey) to understand what additional resources they might need if it was approved. All told me there would be minimal impact on their departments, which was reassuring.
I spoke to Lance and our Town Engineers on the drainiage concerns along with Eagle Creek. I learned the Town has made it much stricter over the last 3 years to develop along the creek, which the developers will follow.
Many of you have been concerned about our schools. I would admit that the 18.4 proposed students sound very low, however those numbers come from Indiana Business Resources Center demographers at the IU Kelley School of Business. The school system estimated this project will add 18.4 students to the school system. We are currently adding 200 students a year to our school system. If this was a 184-unit subdivision, a general rule of thumb is .8 to 1.2 kids per house, putting 150 to 220 students in the school system. The system itself has 7,328 students, so that would add .24% to our schools.
I spoke with Mike Schafer, Zionsville CFO, and learned this does create an annual deficit for the schools of approximately $49,500. That is a number that does concern me, and while it is a fraction of the overall school budget, it is still in the red.
The school system doesn’t take a stand on developments, they just provide us with the facts that we can use in our decision making process.
I spoke with Chief Knox about crime and apartments. The recent shooting on our rail trail allegedly had an apartment connection, as did a recent vehicle theft / car chase. While those incidents are both concerning, statistics show there is no correlation between apartments and crime, although more people may ultimately lead to more crime.
I was concerned about property values. I was shown a study from Savannah, GA that showed a 4.3% drop in homes within a “close proximity” to an apartment complex, which they defined as 2 blocks of the complex. For the village, it was approximately 10 homes. While all real estate is local, I did some research using Zillow (which isn’t as accurate as I’d like), and didn’t see any correlation between loss of home value (per square foot) and proximity to apartment complexes in the Village (Carter Apartments and Walnut Hills Apartments).
I know it sounds like I’m arguing in favor the apartments, I’m not, however these were some of the fact-based research I was doing during this journey. It was the subjective questions about feel and change that were harder to quantify, and ultimately led me to my decision.
If this moves on, I will have questions around the financing of this project, and what is being spent in the project for the public good (parks, trails, parking) versus improving the financial picture / internal rate of return (IRR) for the developer. Those are questions I haven’t asked yet, given it wasn’t at that stage of the process.
I know many in the village have spent considerable time on this project in making sure your voice is heard (and one very impressive model). I think it is good to have community participation and input in any project of this importance, and hopefully you have some additional insight into the process.
Lastly, we had a tremendous amount of feedback and following on our decision to broadcast the meeting on YouTube. There were over 400 people who watched live, and the view count is now over 2,500. Based on that feedback, we will broadcast every Town Council meeting this way. While they probably won’t all be as interesting and as involved, anything we as a Town can do to give people better access to information on their government is a good thing. Think of it as Zionsville C-SPAN!
“At Home in the Village of Zionsville”
The Main Street home of Anne and John Gill was built in 1870 and has been a single family home over the decades, sometimes privately owned, sometimes rented. Originally a one and 1/2 story, simple, rural structure, without a bathroom, the house is now an elegant, charming and creatively re-designed two story, four bathroom home. The care and love is evident in the restoration. Design themes common to the 1800’s are reflected in every room. John’s collection of antique clocks on the south wall of the kitchen/family room compliment the 1879 wooden mantel and reclaimed brick fireplace similar to what would have been common in houses of that era. The adjacent laundry room door announces: “Brick Street Laundry”.
Anne and John love having a “front row” window seat to the comings and goings on Main Street: parades, dog walkers, visitors and local residents, all enjoying the charm and welcoming beauty of historic Zionsville.
S ubmitted by Delma Mindel