Whiteland council turns down 154-home development

A 154-home residential development planned north of the wastewater treatment plant was shot down by the Whiteland Town Council last week.

The development, dubbed Grayhawk Village, was voted down 4-1, following a unanimous favorable recommendation from the Whiteland Plan Commission in November. Councilmember Brad Goedeker voted against rejecting the proposal.

Several council members expressed concerns that there is a lack of remaining land for development in Whiteland. That lack of land and the quality of the development were both factors in the decision to turn down the project, members said.

At their December meeting the council had requested the developer, Arbor Homes, consider creating a stronger buffer between the development and the wastewater treatment plant, such as a playground or park.

Arbor Homes officials last week offered to add trees to the backyards of certain homes to ensure they are shielded from the wastewater plant and presented a plan for a small playground area.

However, council members said no to Arbor Homes’s proposal because they believe it should come with more amenities and the homes should feature less vinyl siding.

To the council, the playground plan presented was too small to accommodate the number of children who will likely live in the development.

“It’s really not just the park size, to me,” council member David Hawkins said. “You guys really aren’t offering anything.”

More amenities could not be added because the budget for the development was tight for the company, said Charles Russell, land entitlement manager for Arbor Homes. Russell argued that a nearby New Whiteland park would help fill this need, but the reasoning was not enough to save the project.

The homes would have also been built using mostly vinyl siding. However, the council wanted the houses to have a higher percentage of stone or masonry.

Russell told the council the vinyl siding was proposed to keep housing prices low and fill a need for affordable housing in the area.

The vinyl siding, combined with the lack of parks and trails in the development, make it too similar to nearby neighborhoods like Saddlebrook Farms, said town council member Joseph Sayler.

“We’re really running out (of unused parcels) and I just have a hard time doing the same thing without there being some significant amenities to come,” Sayler said.