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We received confirmation from Jim Ake that the Wood Wind PUD will be on the agenda Monday night and a vote will be taken. Once again, your attendance and letters are needed.
This entire process has so many events that are UNPRECEDENTED for Westfield. We need one more UNPRECEDENTED event Monday night which is the Council to go against the recommendation of the APC. We have one more opportunity to share our voice to try to make a difference for our city, school and our neighborhood's future.
On Tuesday, Westfield became the city that I believe has the highest referendum tax in the state to support the schools. We've asked for this data from the school, but they asked us to research it ourselves. I did my best and couldn't find any that were higher. If you want to mention this, please qualify the information that we couldn't find any higher ones. Bottom line is the Westfield tax payers are now paying a hefty price for this extreme rate of growth.
This PUD from the start had too many acres being developed by one builder. It's still too many acres being developed by one builder.
Here are the facts:
1. Pulte Neighborhoods by City Currently Building:
Westfield - 6
Carmel - 4
Fishers - 4
Noblesville - 3
Zionsville - 2
Plainfield - 1
Avon - 1
Whitestown - 1
Brownsburg - 1
Why does Westfield have so many Pulte neighborhoods? Won't this be a problem for all of our neighbors that have invested in a Pulte home when they go to sell? This will mostly blanket the remaining unzoned acreage in the Southwest Suburban. The Comprehensive Plan states having unique neighborhoods and not the same designs throughout the city.
2. Unreached Assessed Value Potential - How is the land best used?
Pulte claims the assessed value per home on this PUD will be between $500,000 - $600,000. My numbers show Pulte's portion around $370,000. I asked a Council member directly if he's seen calculations to explain Pulte's numbers and he told me no. Throughout this entire process, we strive to be fact based and show how we arrive at numbers. The numbers they are presenting include the custom which they are not building. In Section 1, the homes are part of the HOA and do have custom character exhibits. Pulte also has some of their designs. If the PUD is followed, this area should have higher average selling price than $370,000 but this is only 84 homes of the 792.
However, in Section 4 West, the square footage standards do not match custom homes. This land is being rezoned for the owners and is not part of the HOA. All homeowners in the Shelbourne area should ask for 4 West to be removed based on the fact that it is not part of the HOA. This SHOULD NOT be rezoned with this PUD. These assessed value numbers should not cloud the real picture of how this land in this area is being used.
The potential in this area is incredible. Here are the numbers:
If this PUD is passed, taking out 4 West but including section 1 as custom homes, the average selling price per home for the PUD would be about $418,000 times 792 homes equaling about $331,000,000 in assessed value for the city.
If this land had 650 homes with an average selling price of $555,000, it would provide $361,00,000 in assessed value for the city. That's almost 150 less homes and $30 million more dollars in assessed value every year! In ten years, that's $300,000,000 more assessed value dollars for the city. The burden on the roads, schools and public safety is less.
The short term financial band aids have got to stop. If this PUD is approved, it will be one of the worst squandering of a potential asset ever in this city's history.
3. Running the sewer line through the golf course
It appears if this PUD is approved, it will save Citizens (the utility not us) $4 million because they can run the sewer line through the golf course. See prior bullet where the city is giving up close to $300,000,000 in potential assessed value over 10 years. Why are we worried about what Citizen's Utility saves? How is this benefiting Westfield over the long run vs. higher AV?
4. PUD Problem: Sparse Black Fencing and Homes Facing the Roads
This item is so simple and is intended to set the theme for the area. In section 3, there is a very small portion with black fencing and in sections 4 & 5, there is none. Over 50% of the homes are still not facing the road. It will be the same as all other neighborhoods in Westfield with the backs of the homes facing the roads. This needs to be fixed.
5. PUD Problem: Architecture
While it is very encouraging to have 70% side load garages and 90% with an 18" brick wrap, this many homes from the same builder is concerning. Additionally, the language in the PUD still states that similar designs will be used so there's no guarantee of the architecture. It's written ambiguously for a reason. The APC and Council should get ready for a long road of amendments not to mention the burden on Mr. Skelton's group.
6. Golf Course
The golf course has created confusion on this PUD. We have worked diligently to get a deed restriction that keeps the course or green space for 50 years. However, some within our city government feel saving the golf course is OK regardless of the cost to Westfield Citizens. As most of you know, I fully support keeping the golf course but not at all costs. Make no mistake, this PUD is a cash cow for everyone involved. As this plan unfolds and after selling the course to Pulte, the current golf course owners, RN Thompson, will have the opportunity to buy the course back from Pulte and receive the projected $800,000 annual social fees from the homes. This has been a lucrative business deal for everyone involved from day one and still is. That's what business is so there's no fault here. The fault comes with the city government if they don't analyze this entire PUD to understand the impact on Westfield citizens.
Danielle Tolan, the Township Trustee, has asked for first right of refusal to buy the course and have it be a part of her parks department when Pulte is ready to sell the course. Please put in an endorsement for Mrs. Tolan as she wants to see this land preserved in our community.
Just to clarify petition numbers - as of Monday, the petition put together by Pulte and the golf course had 415 online signatures. The Stop Irresponsible Development petition led by our neighbor Beth Armstrong had 915. The people of Westfield understand this situation and what's so troubling is I'm not sure our city leaders do. We all want the golf course to stay but with this PUD, the price is too high. We need to respectfully ask the Thompson family to work with the city and find a mutually beneficial solution to this issue.
7. Stop Irresponsible Development Signs
More people throughout the city are requesting these signs. About 150 signs are in yards and more may be ordered. They are spreading beyond our neighborhood. It will be important from now until Monday night to make your friends aware of this vote and encourage them to use social media to share their opinions. Also encourage them to write letters to the City Council and Mayor.
Tuesday's referendum vote had more voters than the 2015 Primary vote for Mayor. With only one item on the ballot, 46% of the city said "NO" to the referendum. I respect everyone's viewpoint on this matter because it is very complex and personal. I have talked to many people on both sides of this issue. One constant was clear in these discussions - everyone wants great schools. But many voting NO are so disgruntled with the rate of growth and poor planning that is financially impacting them, a clear message was sent. Will the city leaders hear it?
This has been the most fact driven and largest remonstrance in the history of the city regarding a new neighborhood. As a reminder, their are 19 neighborhoods under construction with about 1,300 lots available to build upon today on the west side. There are another 1,300 lots on the west side that are rezoned and approved to build upon. There will be NO EXCUSES accepted for not understanding the impact this many homes will have on the school and community. Not one person in this neighborhood that is not benefiting financially has spoken in favor of this project. It is time for this city's administration and City Council to hear its citizens.
8. Please Write Letters AGAIN
Let's make this our best round of letters yet in sharing our viewpoints. Please have them sent by Monday at noon so everyone has an opportunity to read them.
*Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison
9. THANK YOU!!!!!!
Throughout this 10 month process, we've asked you to write letters, meet with city officials, and show up at meetings. People are in awe of the steadfast dedication shown by all of you. It has been my incredible honor to be a part of this neighborhood. You have shown class, dignity and respectfulness in your passion for this area we call home. Thank you so much for EVERYTHING you've done!
Any questions, let me know.