Clark Township residents question vague annexation proposal

A nearly 300-acre annexation with no project attached is raising questions among Clark Township residents.

Pulte Homes of Indiana is proposing an annexation of nearly 295 acres and would bring the land into the city with agricultural zoning. The land is located south of County Line Road, east of Five Points Road and north of Main Street.

On Monday night, Greenwood’s Advisory Plan Commission held a public hearing on the annexation, and a representative from Pulte Homes, along with several local residents, spoke out about the proposal.

Rex Ramage of Pulte Homes told the commission this annexation is the second phase of a previous annexation the commission had before them in November. At that time, the developer came to the city to request an annexation of more than 300 acres of land east of Interstate 65. However, as the annexation made its way through the city council, the number of acres was lowered to slightly more than 104 after one of the landowners withdrew from the process. Rather than making parts of the annexation involuntary, the developer decided to shrink the request. The annexation was approved by the city council in November.

Ramage told the commission Monday there were no projects for the plan commission to review in connection with the annexation, he said.

“There’s no development project up for your review, or approval, tonight,” Ramage said. “It’s simply the annexation.”

During the public hearing on the annexation, several residents asked questions about what the annexation was for and how it would affect them, while others want to make the commission aware of their concerns about future development.

Clark Township resident John McManus told the commission he had attended the first hearing in November and had several questions about how the latest annexation would affect him and his property, he said. While his property would not be annexed, it would be completely surrounded by Greenwood on all sides if the annexation is approved.

Ramage told McManus the annexation would not affect his property right away, as there are no immediate plans for development.

Dr. Robert Robinson, whose property would be bordered by the annexation, also spoke during the public hearing. Like McManus, he had also attended the November hearing. Robinson told the commission he is concerned about how future development would affect his flight path out of a private airfield he operates on his property.

“The flight path is my main concern there at this point,” Robinson said. “We addressed it last time and I would like to just know if there have been any additional thoughts or progress or comments … regarding this.”

Robinson told the commission he takes off and lands his plane from the west and he just wants there to be a clear flight path, he said.

John Hakes, whose family trust owns land to the east of the annexation, told the commission he was concerned about all of the land becoming housing. He also expressed concerns about how it would affect drainage, as there already is a drainage problem in the area. While he isn’t for or against the annexation, Hakes wants them to pay attention to drainage issues, he said.

“I never thought when I was growing up … that Greenwood would be right at the end of the field,” Hakes said. “I just want to make sure that land is not turned into a swamp.”

After the public hearing concluded, plan commission John Shell expressed concerns about how development would impact Robinson’s airstrip. While he does not know how the FAA regards Robinson’s airstrip, Shell does know they are extremely strict when it comes to development near Indy South Greenwood Airport, he said.

“That’s something we might need to look into as they develop,” Shell said. “This is an existing airstrip for 40 years. … You wouldn’t want to put something hazardous, either to the pilot, passengers or people on the ground.”

The commission unanimously voted to give the annexation a favorable recommendation and forwarded it to the city council. The annexation was introduced to the city council earlier this month, and will go through two more readings before a final vote is taken in June.

If the land is annexed, it would become part of City Council District 3, and would cause a re-alignment of the district. Homes on the land would be served by Clark-Pleasant Community Schools and the Johnson County Public Library, according to city documents.

Part of the annexation area is currently served by Needham Community Volunteer Fire Department, with Greenwood Fire Department serving a parcel west of Five Points Road. Once annexed, Greenwood would serve the entire area, city documents say.