Tipton READI

This photo depicts the proposed housing development on the right and, on the left, the areas Tipton County is looking to develop along the U.S. 31 and Indiana 28 intersection. Water and sewer infrastructure upgrades, funded in part by a READI grant, would make the aforementioned developments possible, in addition to further development along the Indiana 28 corridor. 

TIPTON — The Tipton City Council on Monday tabled a vote on approving a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for a proposed 338-home subdivision developed by Arbor Homes.

The decision came after council members asked for more information on parts of the project, which would be built on 138 acres along Indiana 28 west of the city.

Councilman Ken Ehman said his biggest concern was the density of homes proposed at the site, and the potential parking problems it might create in the housing development.

“I’m very concerned about the parking,” he said. “The density is something that I’m personally not in favor of, but I’m personally convinced that has no bearing on whether you’ll be able to sell those homes. I think you’ll be able to sell them.”

Councilwoman Sophie Hufford said she didn’t want to vote on Monday on the PUD ordinance submitted by the company because of errors and incorrect references written into it, including sometimes listing the wrong city.

“If we’re going to vote on an ordinance, it needs to be correct,” she said. “ ... The errors are off the charts.”

She also requested the vote be tabled because an executive at Corteva Agriscience, located 1000 W. Jefferson St., told her the project would destroy a field tile the company installed in an adjacent field to prevent flooding.

Councilmembers pressed Arbor Homes on whether the size of the project could be reduced, or the number of homes lowered to allow for more spacing between them.

Caitlin Dopher, senior entitlement manager for the company, told the council that the only way for the project to be viable is to build a subdivision with the proposed number of lots. She said if the council restricts those numbers, the project couldn’t happen.

The move to table the vote came after about an hour of public comment in which most residents said they opposed the project.

Tipton County Councilman Jim Ashley said he didn’t think the PUD was unreasonable, but he worried it wasn’t the best development for that area of the city, which is the main gateway to the community.

“You have to look at what the best use is for this property,” he said. “This is prime development ground. It’s close to the city of Tipton. It has water and sewer available to it. I think we can do better.”

Other concerns expressed by residents included the price of the homes being too high, the aesthetics of the project not matching the city and the population increase changing the city’s way of life.

However, Tipton Community School Superintendent Ryan Glaze and Tipton Utility General Manager Jim Ankrum said they would welcome the project, which would bring more students to the city and more customers to the utility.

Both said their respective facilities could easily handle any influx of students or customers brought by the development.

The subdivision, as currently proposed, will include 338 homes and two retention ponds, and construction is expected to begin in late 2022 and take six to eight years to build out.

Homebuyers will be able to choose from 11 floorplans, ranging from 1,200 square feet to 3,280 square feet in size, with an average price of around $275,000. Lot sizes would be 7,200 feet and approximately 55 feet wide, with side setbacks between 10-15 feet.

The property is not in city limits, though Arbor Homes plans on submitting a voluntary annexation request in the future.

Monday’s meeting comes after the Plan Commission last month voted 6-3 to give no recommendation to the City Council on the PUD. That came after the Commission failed to garner the six votes needed to pass separate motions to give a favorable recommendation to the council or to table the rezoning request.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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