Seymour approves request to vacate

Two local developers are moving forward with completing Bell Ford Manor subdivision on the city’s west side.

Robert Wright and Rodney Willman of Seymour have received final approval from the city on their request to vacate a portion of Bell Ford Drive West.

That street was to provide an opening from the future expansion of the subdivision onto State Road 258, but it now will end in a cul-de-sac to be dedicated to the city.

The changes will eliminate several plotted lots that are unable to be used for homes because of recent changes to the state’s floodway maps, said attorney Jeff Lorenzo, who spoke on behalf of the developers.

“At the end of December, beginning of January, Jonathan Isaacs, who is the surveyor on the project, received a letter from the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) denying a construction permit because a portion of five or six lots on Bell Ford Manor West was in the floodway,” Lorenzo said.

The floodway maps were reconfigured a few years ago and went into effect last year, he added.

“These lots can’t be built on without significant elevation, which would cause a substantial problem to those houses on the east, probably to the farm ground on the west and significantly to Coventry Place to the northeast,” Lorenzo said.

The Bell Ford Manor project originally was platted as 80 lots. Currently, there are about 35 houses there, Lorenzo said.

“There are a few remaining lots on Bell Ford Manor East,” Lorenzo said. “The proposed vacation will be on what is platted to be Bell Ford Manor West.”

Vacating the platted 1760-1779 W. Bell Ford Drive and the 6,000 block of State Road 258 will allow construction phases three and four to be completed and leave Wright and Willman with about 30 lots to develop, Lorenzo said.

Although no one opposed the proposal, Bell Ford Manor resident Grant Graves questioned who would maintain the properties once they are vacated.

Lorenzo said that responsibility would fall on the developers as long as they own the property.

There also were questions from city plan commissioners about the increase in traffic in the area and the possible need for another way into and out of the subdivision.

Lorenzo said because of the relatively small size of Bell Ford Manor, they didn’t think one was necessary.

“There are 34 or 36 homes now, and I’m guessing there will probably be 73 total,” Lorenzo said. “If a subdivision as large as Mutton Creek can make do with one way in and out, it shouldn’t be a problem here.”

With no major subdivisions in the planning stages, Lorenzo said, there are relatively few buildable lots available in the city.

“We offer this as an opportunity for the city to provide Willman and Wright the ability to develop these additional lots,” Lorenzo said.

Bell Ford Manor resident Ron Jowers said he supported the proposal in the hopes of seeing construction of the subdivision completed.

“I would like to see this go forward,” he said. “I actually have some people who work with me who want to move out there, but there are no lots available. The builder is willing to give up five lots to make this happen.”

The proposal received unanimous approval from both the plan commission and city council.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.