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Duplex development receives rezoning approval

The third time did happen to be the charm for a proposed residential development for the city’s southwest side.

The Kokomo City Council on Monday voted 8-0 to approve a rezoning request for a 3.17-acre plot of land located at 2331 W. Lincoln Road from office commercial to general multifamily residential. Councilman Tony Stewart was absent from Monday’s meeting.

The rezoning paves the way for a residential development Rick Singh and Champreet Kaur plan on building on what is now vacant land.

The duplexes will be a mixture of two and three-bedroom units with a one-car garage for each unit, with rent between $1,700 and $2,000 a month, and will be part of a gated community with a private road running through the middle of the housing development, according to Kevin Steely, of Terra Site Development and the engineer for the project.

A preliminary concept layout given to the City Council earlier this month shows the majority of the duplexes on the property’s south and southeast sides and a turnaround and detention pond on the northeast side.

Final details of the development, such as the number of duplexes, setbacks and final layout of the development, are subject to change as the project still needs to receive development plan approval from the Kokomo Plan Commission. Monday marked the third time the City Council voted on this exact rezoning request. Both times before, the elected board voted down the request.

A previous developer, Jameel Murphy, CEO of Zam Development, sought twice to rezone the property to general multifamily residential. Initially, the plan was to construct between 25-30 two-story townhomes, but the City Council in August unanimously voted that down due to what they perceived as a lack of details pertaining to the development.

Murphy brought the request back to the City Council in September, but the request was voluntarily withdrawn later that same month. Since the request made it all the way to the City Council, the only way for it to be “withdrawn” was if the City Council voted it down. A rezoning request that is not voted on by the City Council is approved by default after a certain amount of time.

The planned residential development has received pushback from some residents of the adjacent Executive Place of Westbrook Homeowners Association.

Residents’ major concerns are the potential loss of privacy if the housing development is multistory, the proximity of the new townhomes to the HOA’s privacy fence, the increase in traffic to the area, and the belief that the number of homes is too many for the space.

The change from multistory townhomes to single-story duplexes was made in an effort to abate privacy concerns. The president of the HOA spoke at the council’s Nov. 14 meeting saying that the HOA’s residents still had privacy and increased noise concerns and that they still believed the space was too small for the number of duplexes the developer seeks to build.

Though City Council members were more emphatic toward the HOA’s concerns in meetings past, the board passed the rezoning this time without much discussion or debate.

Councilman Matt Grecu, R-At-large, told the Tribune after Monday’s meeting that the housing development had changed sufficiently enough since it was first introduced for him to be comfortable with the rezoning. He also brushed aside the HOA residents’ spacing concerns.

“They’re higher-end rentals so it’s going to be pretty nice neighbors you have going there,” Grecu said. “I know they have concerns about the spacing, but that’s something that’s going to be determined when they get to site planning, so they’re not going to put there more units than what feasibly fits. I think the spacing is going to be similar to what the folks in the condo development (Executive Place HOA) have in their own neighborhood.”

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