Category Archives: Current News

Fishers City Council OKs HAND rezoning request

The Fishers City Council voted 5-4 on Feb. 15 to approve HAND Inc.’s request to rezone 1.8 acres of mostly vacant land that could be the site of 11 affordable rental cottages.

Their decision allows HAND to proceed with planning for its proposed Cumberland Cottages development at the southwest corner of 141st Street and Cumberland Road.

An application for project funding through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program is due in May, with a decision expected in August.

Cumberland Cottages would be HAND’s first rental property in Fishers. As designed, it would include 11 two- and three-bedroom rental cottages clustered around shared green space.

City approval was far from certain after members of the Fishers Plan Commission voted 8-1 against the rezone request, citing the planned density, the property’s location near a roundabout, and traffic concerns.

“We are used to getting push-back whenever we propose a new development,” HAND Executive Director Andrea Davis said. “Once construction is done and residents move in, though, most critics realize our properties are actually a community asset.”

Staff at Fishers’ Planning and Zoning Department recommended the City Council approve the rezoning, and HAND worked to address members’ concerns about Cumberland Cottages.

Although several members of the Plan Commission and City Council suggested another site might be more appropriate for the development, Davis explained the the Cumberland Road property is ideal because of its proximity to a wide range of services as well as jobs.

Adding 11 units to an area that already has hundreds of homes—including clusters of attached housing that are far more dense than Cumberland Cottages would be—will not significantly effect traffic, Davis said.

The proposed Cumberland Cottages, shown just southwest of the roundabout at 141st Street and Cumberland Road, would add 11 rental cottages to an area that has hundreds of homes.

A letter from the city’s traffic consultant, prepared at the request of the Fishers Engineering Department, confirmed that 11 cottages would have “no negative effect on the surrounding street system” or on the nearby roundabout.

HAND and its development team will continue to work with the city to fine-tune the Cumberland Cottages proposal. One priority will be to identify funding to upgrade the planned carports to garages.

HAND also plans to form a task force to explore future housing opportunities in Fishers, including homeownership options.

Davis said the Noblesville-based nonprofit already has heard from several Fishers residents interested in renting a unit in Fishers. If the project is funded, the waiting list for Cumberland Cottages will open in 2022.

The Cumberland Cottages development team includes architect David Rausch Studio, Weihe Engineers, and Meyer Najem Construction.

Given the shortage of affordable housing options in the suburbs, local media outlets have been covering HAND’s proposal:

Tell us: What makes your house a home?

Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are ready to get out of the house! But at HAND, we know how fortunate we are to have safe, stable housing where we can stay healthy.

So let’s all take some time to reflect on what makes our homes so special.

Download a “Home Is …” sign here (or make your own) and personalize it to let us know what makes your home special. Then share the photo on HAND’s Facebook page or email us, and we’ll share the love.

We’ll post them on social media in the coming weeks to demonstrate why it is so important for communities like ours to embrace #housing4all.

Introducing … HAND’s Cumberland Cottages

HAND Inc. is proposing to develop almost 2 acres of vacant land at the southwest corner of 141st Street and Cumberland Road in Fishers, where it would build 11 rental homes oriented around shared green space.

The Fishers City Council held the first reading of a proposed Planned Unit Development ordinance governing the site on Dec. 21. The city Plan Commission is expected to review the plans Feb. 3.

HAND hosted open houses on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 to share details of the proposed workforce housing development with neighbors and gather their feedback. Early responses were generally favorable.

Before HAND can develop the property, it needs to be rezoned. Once that happens, the Noblesville-based nonprofit will apply to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority for project funding.

If approved as proposed, the development—called Cumberland Cottages—would include 11 two- and three-bedroom cottages, each with a porch. Planned site amenities include an accessible community garden.

“We are excited about the opportunity to put this vacant land to use and benefit the community by building homes that single parents and others will be able to afford,” said HAND Executive Director Andrea Davis.

The 2018 Hamilton County Housing Needs Assessment showed single-earner households that need more than one bedroom have a hard time finding rentals to fit their budgets.

Founded in 2003 as Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development Inc., HAND owns eight rental properties with a total of 137 units in Hamilton and Boone counties.

Its most recent development was Home Place Gardens, a 10-unit, $2.5 million community along 106th Street in Carmel.

Cumberland Cottages would be HAND’s first property in Fishers.

We’re been staying home since before it was required!

Person in slippers relaxing by fire

In any other year, we would all be preparing right now for a busy holiday season — that fourth-quarter dash through office parties and school concerts and charity fundraisers.

That’s why we introduced Stay Home for HAND as our signature fundraiser in 2017, to give our supporters an excuse to take a Saturday night off and spend time enjoying the kind of comfort that HAND works to provide our less-fortunate neighbors.

Then came 2020.

Most of us have spent months at home this year, whether we wanted to or not. And we haven’t necessarily been enjoying it. Staying safe during a global pandemic has meant transforming our homes into offices, schools, and warehouses for toilet paper and other necessities.

But can you imagine doing all of that when you’re not sure how you’re going to pay your rent or utility bill? When making a mortgage payment means you have to get groceries at a food bank?

With your help, HAND is working to provide housing that low- and moderate-income families in our community can afford without stretching — or sacrificing. And we couldn’t do it without you.

So you’re invited to support HAND’s efforts by staying in the evening of Nov. 21 — or any Saturday night before the end of the year — and taking the time to really enjoy the place you call home. Soak up the warmth. Snuggle into the comfort. And rest well knowing you are making a difference.

Individual tickets are $25, household tickets $75 and VIP households $150. VIP households will receive a small token of our appreciation, and all “attendees” will have a chance to win one of three prize baskets we will announce in the coming weeks. Winners will be drawn on Facebook Live at noon, Monday, Nov. 23.

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