(These items are now out of date, but provide some historical perspective.)
Why can’t the city stop the development of the Batey Farm property?
- The owner had a builder who wanted to buy the property if they could put in high-density housing. The city denied that rezoning request but they can still go back immediately and build under the existing zoning that allows “normal density”.
How many houses can they build there?
- There are two tracts of land. The lower, flat farm land can hold about 90 houses with existing zoning. The second tract on the hill behind it can hold anywhere from 70-90 more.
- That means another 400 cars and hundreds more children for the schools.
What happened after the rezoning attempt?
- After the current owners failed in their initial attempt to rezone the land for higher-density housing, they gave the city until 12/31/17 to come up with the $3 million to buy just the lower, flat 35 acres. Since the city at that time could not see how to do that, the owners told the city they planned to put it back on the market immediately after that deadline.
- The owners previously told us that have two builders potentially interested but there is no contract that we know of yet.
- Again, once the 12/31/17 deadline passed, the owner said they would put it back on the market. However, as we stated at our 1/15/18 Community Meeting at First Baptist Church, we still felt optimistic that the current owners would sell us the lower 35 acres for $3 million and be happy with their 11% profit plus get a significant tax deduction by donating the upper 38. This turned out to be overly optimistic.
- Meanwhile, with all the new support from the community and with the new resolution passed by the city in Nov. 2017 to put aside 1% of each year’s budget for buying greenspace, one alderman went back to the owners in Feb. 2018 and asked if they would sell all 73 acres to the city for $3.7 million. The owners said they wanted more than that.
- But the owner offered the city the same deal as last year … $3 million for just the lower, flat 35 acres but this time offered to let them pay over time with interest.
- The city is now considering that deal. The deal also gives the city or the Friends of Indian Lake Peninsula the first right of refusal if they get an offer on the upper, hilly 38 acres.
- Meanwhile, we want to continue to raise at least $1 million in donations and try to make an offer on the hilly 38 acres.