Whiteland council approves rezone for Briar Creek subdivision expansion

Whiteland town council members on Tuesday approved a rezoning request to add 120 new lots to the Briar Creek neighborhood.

Indianapolis-based Gradison Land Development requested to rezone around 73 acres of land next to the existing Briar Creek subdivision on the southside of Whiteland Road. It was rezoned from commercial to planned unit development, or PUD, to make way for new estates and villas.

The developer plans to continue the development of the Briar Creek property, which was OK’d by the town in 2018. The new addition will include a combined 150 single-family homes and empty-nester units, including 83 single-family “lifestyle villas” and 37 single-family detached estates.

The rezone request received a favorable recommendation last week from the town advisory plan commission, and the Whiteland Town Council approved it unanimously Tuesday evening.

The villas will be targeted toward empty-nesters, such as older residents without children living with them looking to downsize, similar to the target residents in the duplexes planned in the area, said Adam Mears with Gradison Land Development. These would be individual homes with a minimum lot size of 6,760 square feet.

“We anticipate this product to be very successful down in this area,” Mears said.

The 37 estate model homes will be similar in looks to the over 50 single-family homes already in Briar Creek, with a minimum lot size of 9,800 square feet, Mears said.

All of the homes would have no vinyl siding, and instead have Hardie Plank cement fiber siding on the outside, as well as brick and stone masonry.

The reasoning behind requesting a PUD, instead of regular residential zoning, is that it provides more flexibility to the developer, and would cut out the need to request several zoning variances for the two different types of homes in the plan, Gradison representatives said.

This is the second time this similar rezone request for this property has come before the town council this year. Arbor Homes requested to build 154 homes in the plot in early 2022, but the rezone request to a PUD was rejected by a vote of 4-1. At the time, council members cited the lack of remaining land to develop in the town as a reason for rejecting the neighborhood, along with the quality of the proposed plans.

Mears said on Tuesday this is an improvement from that proposed project.

“We spent an awful lot of time with the town in several meetings, talking about what was maybe not the best part of the last project that was proposed here, and what we can do to try to put a plan together that is supported,” Mears said.

Gradison additionally pledged to help develop a triangle-shaped plot of land owned by the town near the wastewater treatment plant into a community space. The plan is for Gradison to build a dock and drainage pond stocked with fish, and Mears said they would also commit $65,000 to the town to help it deveop the land further into a park or walking trails.

The developer will have to return to the town at a later date to get a primary plat approved before the subdivision can start construction.