Thorntown’s 160-home subdivision must first receive a rezoning | Across Indiana

An Indianapolis developer is proposing a residential subdivision of about 160 houses on the west side of Thorntown.

Thorntown City Council got its first look at Arbor Homes’ Westfall Place proposal at its November 21 meeting.

Arbor Homes representative Charles Russell said the first phase is the rezoning of 52.9 acres from agricultural classification to residential.

The Thorntown Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rezoning on December 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Thorntown Public Library.

Russell gave the City Council copies of a project outline that included a map showing a conceptual blueprint, with the caveat that it is for discussion purposes only and is subject to change as new site information is gathered.

Map shows a residential community on the south side of Ind. 47 with access from State and Oak Streets to the east.

If the rezoning is approved, Russell said it will take another 18 to 24 months before the first homes are delivered.

The homes, he said, will be between 1,200 and 2,300 square feet and will be priced in the low-to-mid $300,000 range. Arbor Homes also plans to apply for connection to Thorntown if the rezoning is approved.

“Our main goal,” Russell said, “is to build houses the way people buy them, with as few specification houses as possible.” It should be a single-family home. The structure and access roads will cover 50 percent of the lot sizes.”

The project would be built in stages — a few houses at a time, he said, stressing, “We wouldn’t want to build a house unless we had a buyer for it.”

The subdivision has the potential to increase the city’s population by nearly 25% from 1,444, based on U.S. Census estimates of 2.6 people per household in the country.

Russell said the project was outlined to Western Boone School officials and it was determined that the school board had adequate classroom space to accommodate an increase in students living in the proposed subdivision.

A nearly sold-out crowd of more than 20 residents filled Thorntown’s small town hall to hear the presentation and provide comment.

Several residents questioned Arbor Homes’ ability to find enough buyers for homes priced over $300,000, to which Russell responded that research shows that’s a realistic number.

Others questioned whether the homes will have high-quality facades, such as stone or brick, and feared the development could turn out to be a “vinyl village,” made up of homes with cheap vinyl siding.

Arbor Homes has developed communities in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, including 21 projects in central Indiana. The community closest to Thorntown is Maple Run, just south of Sheridan, where homes are available for under $200,000.

Residential construction in Thorntown has stagnated for several years because the sewage treatment plant is working at full capacity. Recent improvements to the sewage system have created the opportunity for new residential development.