Developer withdraws Bryant Lake rezoning request

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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The battle over a potential rezoning of a portion of Bryant Lake is over for now.

The LaGrange City Council was set to vote on a request to remove conditions on a 134-acre portion of the Bryant Lake property on Hamilton Road when the developer abruptly withdrew their request via email on Tuesday.

The conditions were placed when the property was rezoned in 2019 to keep it somewhat in line with the original master plan for the development. The developer, Keystone Custom Homes, requested that the property be rezoned to fit within the current Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which would remove the more stringent requirements placed in 2019.

At a public hearing for the potential zoning change on Dec. 13, many Bryant Lake residents spoke against the rezoning, fearing that the change would allow too many new residents and change the nature of the community.

At the time, Keith Newberry, of Keystone Custom Homes, said that they were not asking to exceptionally increase the home density here, saying they might have 20 to 30 more townhomes or 12 more houses.

City Manager Meg Kelsey explained in Tuesday’s council work session that the city doesn’t really know how many extra homes could be added because the developer’s plans have not been finalized.

“There would be a sudden increase in density. I don’t know that that’s a great number. We don’t really know what that number is,” Kelsey said.

Councilman Jim Arrington said that if the area is rezoned, the developer could potentially add many more homes under the UDO.

Arrington explained that if the property is rezoned, the developer can shift some pods around and change some lot sizes to add any number of homes. If the developer moved the multifamily portion to a larger area, it could potentially add many more homes.

That’s why they can’t say there will only be 12 more homes, said City Attorney Jeff Todd.

Plans for the proposed development were not finalized before the rezoning request was made, which would have allowed the city to hold the developer to the plan under conditions for the rezoning.

“He was intentionally ambiguous. He does not want to tell us what he’s doing and maybe it’s from a solicitation standpoint or to give himself a competitive edge. I don’t know, but he’s not being forthright,” Councilman Nathan Gaskin said.

Ultimately, the vote scheduled at the subsequent council meeting didn’t matter, and it was pulled from the agenda when the developer withdrew his request.

If the rezoning had been denied, the developer would have had to wait six months before he could resubmit the request, Kelsey said. The developer could come back with a modified request immediately though.

Kelsey said no explanation was provided in the email the city received asking to withdraw the request.