Commission approves rezoning for University Parkway development - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Commission approves rezoning for University Parkway development

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Some of those opposed to the new development left before the commission voted at Tuesday night's meeting. Some of those opposed to the new development left before the commission voted at Tuesday night's meeting.

A controversial development planned for the west side of Vanderburgh County got the green light on Tuesday night.

There was a lot talk at the Vanderburgh County Commissioners meeting about what the development would look like. The developers kept referring to the shopping center right off the Lloyd and Burkhardt, where Target is located.  

The planned commercial buildings will be similar to these to attract higher class tenants.

For two and a half hours, opponents made their case.

"This is about our home. This is about our character. This is about our future," says a speaker at Tuesday's meeting. 

Members of GROUP, or Growing Responsibility On University Parkway, had hoped county commissioners would stall the project and study it more, but when it became clear the rezoning ordinance would easily pass many got up and left before a vote was ever taken.

"I would like to think that the home owners, their little castles and their little domain out there of their home is more important than just raising tax revenue," west side resident Michael Lockard said. 

Lockard, who helped to lead the push to have the project undergo more study, says he's not sure commissioners listened to what residents had to say after hearing some of the closing remarks made by commissioners.

"I see development as an opportunity to increase revenues for the county," County Commissioner Joe Kiefer says.

"Our biggest concern is the traffic and whether or not they're going to put a stoplight on University Parkway," Lockard says.

Developer Gene Pfiefer, who was at the meeting, says he will pay for a traffic study and adjust his plans accordingly.  

Those plans  call for both residential and commercial properties. The residential properties would consist of single family housing as well as apartments, that the developer says would not be student housing. Although they did admit, if a student wanted to rent one, they couldn't discriminate against them.  

There would also be commercial properties with green space and a farmers market. Now, developers will put all of this into a master plan that must fit within the guidelines voted on Tuesday night.

"When they do that master plan, I already know that legally it's binding on this developer," Lockard says.

As far as a when construction might begin, no timeline has been announced yet.

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