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Avon apartment proposal stirs controversy over school money

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Arguments are spinning in Avon over plans for a new apartment complex. A developer has come to the town wanting to build 270 new apartments between the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA and U.S. Highway 36.

The original plan was for 160 apartments, with unlimited bedrooms, and some retail space, so this developer would need the town council to approve an amendment to the planned unit development. There’s a big group of people who don’t want to see it happen, but town officials say the situation is more complicated than just turning this developer away.

Opposition of the proposed 270 apartments to be built at Satori Pointe, said it would bring a group of new students into Avon schools.

“My main concern is for the schools and the additional burden that will be put on the school,” Karen Eglen said.

She’s an Oriole Advocate, speaking out in support of Avon Community Schools Corporation.

“Avon has large class sizes and are already fighting many battles to try to tighten their belt in any way they can financially,” Elgen said.

The issue is no tax money would come with them, because these apartments would be built in a tax district known as a TIF created to help the Hendricks Regional Health’s YMCA.

“So that isn’t an option. Any students who live in the apartments and will then attend the school, there will not be any funding from that for the schools, so that is a genuine concern,” Aaron Tevebaugh, Avon Town Council Vice President, said.

He said the current council cannot change the agreement with Hendricks Regional Health that was created almost 8 years ago. A TIF has a life span of 25 years and making any changes to it would restart the clock.

“There’s a lot of miss-information, misperception about what was going to go on if these were to be built and it was creating a lot of fear, catastrophic thinking and really dividing the community and really that’s not the goal or the objective of this,” Tevebaugh said.

The town council can only approve or turn down the developer’s plan to build the 270 apartments.

“All we do is hear the cases that come before us,” Tevebaugh said.

The reason the developer needs approval is because the original planned unit development called for 160 apartments, with an unlimited number of bedrooms, along with 60,000 square feet of retail space.

The new 270 apartments plan would include high-end units with a cap at two bedrooms. A move Tevebaugh says will decrease the chance of many school-age children living in the development.

Meanwhile, Avon school leaders are voicing their opposition to the plan. They’ve sent a letter to the town asking the council to only consider plans for commercial or industrial developments on the land, but Tevebaugh said if the council turns down this plan and another developer comes in, their hands may be tied.

“A developer could come along or this developer and say we do not want the amendment to the planned unit development. We are happy with the 160 units… We are happy not capping the bedrooms. Then that would be out of our control, because that was set from the initial plan and we would be forced to accept that,” Tevebaugh said.

Avon town leaders said the only way for the school district to recoup any money for the potential students living in Satori Pointe, would be to come to an agreement with either the developer or Hendricks Regional Health.

Gary Everling, Hendricks Regional Health Vice President & Cheif Strategy Officer released this statement regarding funding for ACSC.

“Hendricks Regional Health and Avon Community School Corporation have reviewed this matter together. Our organizations have a strong partnership for health services and a variety of wellness outreach programs for the Avon Schools population. As a non-profit community hospital, Hendricks Regional Health collaborates with Avon Schools to offer on-site primary care for school employees; health and wellness education for students, staff and visitors; athletic team services; and a professional-level nursing education program. Avon Schools has and will continue to be a strong community partner, and we at Hendricks Regional Health are invested in their success.”

The town council will vote on this issue Thursday at 7 p.m. during it’s regularly scheduled meeting at the Avon Town Hall.