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Community members push back on planned development near 96th and Meridian

Posted at 12:57 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 12:57:24-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Community members living on the far north side of Indianapolis are concerned over planned development near East 96th and North Meridian streets.

Landmark Properties wants to construct retail, hotel, and apartment buildings in the area known as Meridian North.

They've owned the property for decades and say they're committed to revitalizing it. However, since the plan was announced, there has been some push back.

Carol Ganza is one of the people against the current plan.

"We are not against development. What we're against is this behemoth of a structure that doesn't fit in this neighborhood at all," Ganza said.

She's referring to the apartment buildings that will be seven stories, around 90 feet tall.

Ganza says the apartment buildings will tower over her quiet, residential street. She believes it'll force people to redesign their landscaping because the buildings will block out the sun.

She also thinks it'll tank her homes property value. These concerns are shared by many of those who live near her.

Landmark Properties Plan
Landmark Properties conceptual plan for development near 96th & Meridian. The purple buildings are the seven story apartments. Just below them is Pennsylvania Street which is separated by some trees and a hill varying in size along the road.

In the conceptual preliminary plan from Landmark Properties, you can see in purple what will be the seven story apartment buildings just a few hundred feet away from Pennsylvania Street. It will bring in hundreds of new residents.

The influx of people and the height of the buildings is why Ganza and many of her neighbors are speaking out.

"What they're trying to do is not only going to affect Pennsylvania but everybody in College Commons," Ganza said. "We do not have sidewalks on these streets and these neighborhoods are kids, families, and dogs. We use the streets and with an increase in traffic, it's going to be really, really dangerous."

Dozens of people filled the meeting room at the Nora Library Thursday night as Landmark Properties presented their plans to the Nora-Northside Community Council.

The company's lawyer went through the compromises they made to try and please the community, but the council and those in the audience weren't buying it.

There were several contentious back and forth moments when the council and community members began asking questions about the project.

It was reiterated the community isn't against development, they are against the proposed plan. They'll accept the increase of traffic, but wanted Landmark Properties to compromise by lowering the apartment buildings to three or four stories and moving the apartments closer to Meridian Street.

Brian Pahud, Landmark Properties President, addressed the crowd several times. He made clear: they've compromised as much as they're willing and the plan they're proposing the one they hope the Department of Metropolitan Development will approve.

"We originally proposed eight stories of apartments with two stories of commercial on Meridian. We tweaked that to seven (stories of apartments) and three (stories of commercial) and found a way to make it work," Pahud said, reaffirming his stance that he and his company have compromised as much as they're willing.

The Nora-Northside Community Council recommended against approving the project. The Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development is set to decide on the plan on Dec. 15, but the council could ask for a continuance to push back that vote.