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.
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:
- IndyStar: Fishers council OKs low-income housing proposal previously criticized as ‘way too dense’ (Feb. 15)
- IndyStar: Affordable housing development proposed near State Road 37 in Fishers (Dec. 22)
- IBJ: Editorial: Affordable housing must be priority for Hamilton County to keep growing (Feb. 19)
- IBJ: Fishers council narrowly OKs rezoning to allow affordable neighborhood (Feb. 15)
- IBJ: HAND Inc. plans first affordable, for-rent neighborhood in Fishers (Dec. 22)
- Current: Fishers council narrowly approves Cumberland Cottages, 5-4 (Feb. 22)
- Current: A hand up, not a handout: HAND proposes project in Fishers for workforce housing (Jan. 5)