Plans for controversial apartment complex in Zionsville denied by town council

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ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – The Zionsville Town Council voted 4-3 on Monday to block plans for a controversial apartment complex.

The apartments, called Sycamore Flats, would have been built on a roughly four-acre plot of land along Sycamore Street.

People against the apartments began showing up at Zionsville Town Hall around 4:30 p.m. for the meeting that began at 7 p.m. Many were decked out in red, holding signs that read "Stop Sycamore Flats."

"We need to have development that fits with the village, fits with the neighborhood, and fits with the downtown character. And this does not do that,” said Zionsville resident Bob Royalty.

His home backs up to the edge of the lot where the apartment complex would have been built. He worried his quiet backyard view would have changed.

"You might as well have a wall there rather than this huge, in your face up to the street two and a half story apartment building,” Royalty said while looking at the line of trees.

Sycamore Flats would have been the first new apartment project in Zionsville in more than 40 years. It would have included 184 units, both one-bedroom and two-bedroom.

“It’s huge," Royalty said. "It’s bigger than anything in town and to put it on this small little corner just doesn't make sense.”

Throughout town you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of red yard signs that read "Stop Sycamore Flats." Inside those homes, you'll find plenty of residents who feel the project would have rid Zionsville of its character.

Bret Brewer, Vice President of the Village Residents Association, has called Zionsville home for about 20 years. He moved there for its small quaint character, and worried the project would have taken that away.

“It’s going to change it to look like what the developers have done to all these other towns," Brewer said. "It’s literally going to kill a town and change the face of it into something else.”

The developer estimated the project would have brought roughly $10 million into the local economy. However, Brewer believes that's not quite true.

While some local businesses opposed the project, others felt the new residents would have brought in the business promised.

"That's people. Those are eaters, those are buyers,” said Matt Frey, owner of Bub's on South Main Street.

Frey believes the development would have helped the local tax base, and also the local businesses nearby.

"I understand their opinions about the quaintness of it, the traffic of it, I completely understand it," Frey added. "But as things change you have to change with them, you can't stay the same forever.”

The Town of Zionsville Advisory Plan Commission recommended the town vote in favor of the project, and the Chamber of Commerce also expressed their support.

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