Ben Bontrager

Ben Bontrager

An Indianapolis developer plans to build as many as 500 homes and a big-box store on Lebanon’s north side.

The project is slated for about 140 acres at the northwest corner of County Road 300 North and Indiana 39. The land is bordered by the CSX Railroad tracks to the west and partially by Ind. 39 to the east. The acreage is largely farmland at present.

The commercial part of the development will occupy the extreme southeast portion of the plot and be accessed from C.R. 300 and Ind. 39. The local rumor mill is suggesting on social media that a Meijer store is possible, but Lebanon officials would not validate that rumor.

“Nothing has been filed with our office for any specific uses,” City Planner Ben Bontrager said. “They said residential will come first and commercial maybe a couple of years later, but nothing specific has been filed.”

The plan also includes two smaller businesses on out lots of the big-box store and a fueling station. A fueling station will be in high demand as development planned for the area progresses, attorney Adam Meers, representing Gradison Land Development of Indianapolis, told the Lebanon City Council on Monday.

The project called Spring Creek will include three types of homes in maximum quantities of:

  • Traditional single-family dwellings, 170
  • Duplexes, 130; and
  • Townhomes, 100.

City Councilman Dick Robertson asked for the single family homes to be built on larger lots with more room in between structures. Bontrager and the builder said smaller lot sizes reduce yard work and mean more area can be devoted to common spaces that will house amenities such as a golf park, a pickle ball court, trails, fire pits, and open areas for play and relaxation. But nothing is final, Meers said.

The council annexed the acreage earlier this month and is being asked to designate the area as a planned unit development, PUD, for planning purposes. That’s not new, Bontrager said. Several subdivisions have been negotiated between the developer and the city as PUDs.

The reason is that no one city zoning ordinance fits all the uses slated for certain projects. The PUD lets the city and builder negotiate zoning standards to be applied to the various housing and land-use types specific to a project. The council heard the first reading of an ordinance to establish a PUD for Spring Creek Monday and is expected to make a decision at its regular meeting June 12.

Plans and artists’ renderings are on file in the city’s planning office.

Spring Creek, adjacent to the Eli Lilly and Co. $3.7 million project, is expected to take five to seven years to build out, while Lilly takes only three, Meers said.

Lilly will be part of the LEAP Lebanon District under development by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., IEDC. LEAP stands for limitless exploration advanced pace. The district is known informally as a hard-tech corridor, and Lilly is the anchor tenant. The district is the largest economic development in the state’s history.

The IEDC plans to improve, pave, and widen roads in the general area, including C.R. 300 N., which will become a divided four-lane street.

The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to build a new interchange for Interstate 65 somewhere in the region but has not yet announced exactly where. And INDOT has hinted there may be a light or other major improvements if traffic warrants at the intersection of C.R. 300 N. and Ind. 39.

Spring Creek is not part of LEAP, but its developers are working with the IEDC, INDOT, and the city, to ensure safe and adequate traffic flow.

“The big thing,” Bontrager said, “Is to get the transportation network right in the area. We need to consider what improvements are being made to existing roads and what needs to be done to accommodate Spring Creek and everything else that’s going to be taking place in that area.”

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