Great news! After an arduous but productive few weeks, the negotiation team (representing Nora Council, Nora Alliance, and Driftwood Hills organizations) came to a settlement Friday, and it has been filed with DMD to be considered by the Full Council Monday night.
Update: The settlement was approved 18-2 by the Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday, April 9.
The facts of the case have remained consistent, though those working against the negotiation process continue to muddy the waters with conjecture, incorrect assumptions and false information.
- There is (still) no chance this parcel will remain undeveloped.
- Due to a 2005 City zoning decision, a fully residential development is not possible, as many in Driftwood Hills have claimed.
The negotiation team’s goal was to get the best possible development outcome for the community within the existing circumstance.
The Driftwood Hills neighborhood was fully represented during every step of the process (at the table and through external communications), and their needs and concerns were paramount during the negotiation. The settlement process is not a public process. As soon as a settlement was reached it was distributed to all neighborhood organizations involved. There was no ‘hidden agenda’ here, but rather the typical – albeit rare – call-down process, as Counselor Biesecker can attest.
While the Indiana Forest Alliance has consistently opposed the call-down/negotiation process and tried to thwart attempts at a settlement, environmental concerns and the saving/mitigation of trees continued to be a priority, as is evident in the settlement. The settlement addresses each issue that the IFA Executive Director had with the proposed development. According to this statement from Executive Director Jeff Stant (in an email to Nora Council President Ruth Hayes this week), the IFA may now in fact be supportive:
“If this settlement will actually reduce the foot print of the development, leave a significant portion of the forest alone and reduce the traffic problem in the area, it would be nice to share it with folks in time for them to rationally consider it (not a day or two before you want the Council to vote on it). Indeed if your folks would take the time to share it in good faith with those who opposed the call down and not just rush it to the Council after you’ve released it, maybe we could all be surprised by the result.” (Jeff Stant, IFA Executive Director)
The settlement does all of this and more. I will move Monday night for the Council to accept this settlement. The Nora Council, Nora Alliance, and Karen Hamilton of DHNA have spent hours considering the needs of their residents and their community. These organizations have over 65 years of combined experience representing their neighborhoods. Everyone will not always agree, and no matter what has been said, this negotiation is considerate of the needs of all involved, especially Driftwood Hills. Voting against this settlement is voting against the participation and influence of experienced, registered neighborhood organizations in the land use cases that affect their immediate communities.