By William Fouts, Noblesville Daily Times
A proposed $500 million mixed-use development along the White River near the intersection of 96th Street and Allisonville Road will mean millions in tax revenue for Fishers, developers say. Opponents of the RiverPlace development say it will mean potential floods and a flood of cars.
Centre Properties of Indianapolis is looking to build high-rise office and condo spaces intermingled among town homes, retail shopping and restaurants on nearly 70 acres east of the White River.
The Fishers Town Council approved a zoning ordinance for the project Monday despite pleas from opponents, who say it will only add to the traffic woes at that intersection and increase the threat of flooding. The developer says the mixed-use zoning will generate more property tax revenue with less traffic impact than would be possible under the site's previous commercial-only zoning.
"The reason for that is if it is all commercially zoned and all commercially developed, it's going to generate more trips because of all the commercial development," said Steve Hardin an attorney representing Centre Properties. "By including the vertical residential components, what we're actually doing is increasing the assessed value of the project but decreasing the overall number of trips."
Centre Properties would pay approximately $4 million in road impact fees to pay for road improvements. Hardin added the mixed-use zoning would generate approximately $5.3 million in property tax revenues compared to $3.2 million under the commercial-only designation.
Some aren't buying it though. Democratic Town Council candidate Greg Purvis said the project would be fine but for its proximity to the intersection and the White River.
"I drive through that every day, and I'm not sure there is a way to make it any better, because you have a major choke point at the White River Bridge," Purvis said. "This is going to impact both the city of Carmel and the city of Indianapolis and even the city of Noblesville because Allisonville Road is a major access point for people around here going to Noblesville."
Others are concerned the development could cause flooding up and downstream from the site. Centre Properties received a permit from the Department of Natural Resources to fill 15 acres of floodway for the project. That fill work is currently underway.
"I just want to say please ... for the public, for the good of the land and all living creatures please don't sacrifice for tax revenue now," said resident Christine Golay.
Only five of the seven-member council were present to vote on the ordinance which passed 4-1. Council president Scott Faultless, Art Levine, Charlie White and Elaine Pritchard voted in favor and council member David George voted against. Stuart Easley and Dan Henke were not present for the vote.