Neighborhood Voice: Response to FOX59 coverage

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Submitted by: Linda Naas Westfield Resident


Of course, Steve Hoover, would be in favor of this PUD as he admitted he made most of the changes to the Concept Plan himself, actions outside his bounds and responsibilities as APC member or Councilor or any code of ethics pertaining to planning.  He also influenced the developer to avoid and cancel a preset meeting with the RGAW for 12/16/16, before the APC meeting submission deadline.  Mr. Hoover was "shocked" that anyone came forward to speak against the Aurora PUD at the public hearing and public comments meetings.  Many came forward to speak against and no one came forward in favor of the Aurora PUD amendment Ord 16-22.  Mr. Hoover, himself, asked those who spoke to submit their concerns and suggestions to the developer following the 12/5/16 APC meeting.

There is also concern that the City of Westfield Economic Development Department Director and Secretary of the APC (Matt Skelton) has an ongoing relationship with the developer, Chris White, and represented him on the original Aurora PUD Ord 6-55 in 2006.  The Director has great latitude in applying or waiving ordinances and development standards of the City and will continue to work on this development.  This is clearly a conflict of interest.

This PUD meets the Comprehensive Plan only per page 24, location per the land use map.  It comes nowhere near meeting the Comprehensive Plan on buffers for large lot residential and especially buffers for commercial/industrial next to residential.  The Comprehensive Plan recommends 100' or more of buffers with reforestation.  An example of larger buffers are in Chatham Hills residential areas next tor residential areas using 75' reforestation buffers.  The Comprehensive Plan calls out commercial/industrial development to be developed with campus-like style, contrary to this development.

With the current WoodWind PUD going through the APC process in Westfield at this time also, the City staff found 85 points in the Comprehensive Plan that the developer needed to meet.  No City staff or developer representatives reviewed the Comprehensive Plan for compliance in detail like this for the Aurora PUD.  It is erroneous, therefore, to state that the Aurora PUD meets the Comprehensive Plan.

From the outset the developer Chris White has been represented by attorney, Russell Brown, who misrepresented input from RGAW at the 1/4/17 APC meeting without an opportunity for RGAW to respond.  Although the developer is allowed to have legal representation, when RGAW hired attorneys to help them navigate the APC/Council process regarding this development within their neighborhood, Councilors V-P Jim Ake, President Chuck Lehman, Steve Hoover, and Robert Horkay became angered and started referring to the RGAW as adversarial, ignorant, and showing a lack of involvement in the community overall.  President Lehman announced at a meeting that he "will not read this " 40 page document from RGAW.  He was angry the RGAW hired attorneys, put up signs and wore yellow T-shirts to APC meetings. It is a conflict for any of these elected officials to represent a developer against residents.  It should also be fair for residents to choose legal representation when it is standard procedure for developers.
The RGAW offered much information to improve the development in a manner respectful of the process.  Their suggestions were studied, researched and well-thought through.  At no point did they suggest there should be no development as they are all aware a 2006 Aurora PUD exists. This amendment process initiated by the developer, Chris White, gave an opportunity to improve upon a project that was voted down by the 2006 APC 10/23/06.

There are 11 points the RGAW would like to have considered to improve on this development and make it fit into the existing neighborhood.

Our Points:

  1. No residential within existing PUD, allow residential on land optioned by developer to the East of Grassy Branch Road
  2. 100’ reforestation buffers (8’ mounds within with more mature trees – see Chatham Hills 75’ buffers)
  3. strategic locations of ponding to provide further buffers between all abutting residential properties and the PUD per the Comprehensive Plan
  4. establish a Truck Route within PUD with access from 191st Street via East Street
  5. limit height of buildings to 35' abutting residential properties/zoning, putting buildings with more height in the center of the park
  6. leave 202nd/203rd street in place for access by existing properties
  7. resolve the issue with the Heitman Providence Wildlife Habitat location using fair market value, possible relocation or move within PUD possibly on Grassy Branch near existing residential
  8. create a campus-like concept plan for the overall PUD per the Comprehensive Plan for Business Parks that the entire community can be proud of
  9. develop a premier business park as a positive component of the north entrance to Westfield along US 31 and SR 38, noting this park is located across US31 from Chatham Hills and Grand Park entrance
  10. maintain the original size of the business park along US 31 and develop using the US 31 Overlay District ordinance
  11. see that all businesses that locate to the Business Park bring a positive financial impact to the City (reference 10/18/16 comments from City Financial Advisor, Greg Guerrataz)

Any information contained herein is supported by written documentation and audio files.

Clearly the City of Westfield needs commercial/industrial development and the taxes it brings if done properly, but such a large project should be fully studied and scrutinized.  And the facts should all be considered.


Linda Naas
Westfield City Resident