New development at Timbergate in limbo

EDINBURGH — A crowd of about 30 people cheered as a proposal to shrink lot sizes and square footage in Edinburgh’s Timbergate subdivision was denied Monday.

The subdivision at Timbergate Golf Course has been under construction for 24 years, with about 67 home lots sold so far, but the development process has been much slower than expected.

The biggest year for homes sales in the subdivision was in 2021 when 10 lots were sold, said Wade Watson, Edinburgh planning director.

The development project is still active as several homes are under construction. But Michigan-based Amos Investment Corporation, the original developer, is seeking to sell the undeveloped land to another developer.

Gradison Land Development, of Indianapolis, and Virginia homebuilder Ryan Homes were seeking to take over the development of the final two sections of Timbergate. But the Edinburgh Plan Commission and the Edinburgh Town Council both disagreed with changes to development standards the companies proposed.

The development was zoned planned unit development, or PUD, 24 years ago. A PUD allows for special zoning standards that are specific to the developer’s vision for a property. For Timbergate that includes large lot sizes, landscaping, streets lined with trees and all-brick homes.

In October the plan commission renewed the PUD for another five years but gave the proposed changes to the PUD an unfavorable recommendation. That proposal would have decreased lot sizes and home square footage, and allowed fiber cement siding on up to 75% of home exteriors, town documents show.

The plan commission made that decision in front of a crowd of over 60 residents after hearing comments from neighbors who want to see the current standards continue, according to minutes from the meeting.

Interest in the proposal continued Monday when about 30 residents attended the town council meeting, which was held at the Edinburgh Community High School cafeteria due to the anticipated crowd. Residents again called for the standards to continue.

Several said those standards are why those have chosen to make their home in the development. Others were concerned that views of fiber cement-sided homes on smaller lots would lower the reputation of the golf course.

Representatives from Gradison emphasized the homes were a good product that is selling well in Johnson County and Indianapolis. The homes would have been similar to houses with an average sale price of $325,000 in the Briar Creek and Briar Estates neighborhoods in Whiteland, said Ryan Mears, an attorney representing Gradison.

Gradison would have invested more than $9 million to prepare the lots for development. With that level of investment, the changes to the PUD were needed because the developer wants to move the lots more quickly than Amos had, Mears said.

“At our trajectory, we estimate around 48 sales per year or 12 per quarter. We believe we would be sold out in less than four years. So, what has taken 20-plus years to get to 70 homes, we believe we can do in less than four years,” Mears said. “We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

The Gradison proposal would have added 181 new homes to the town and the neighborhood that straddles Johnson and Shelby counties.

After a lengthy public hearing, the council voted 3-1 to deny Gradison’s petition to edit the PUD, with council member Jeff Simpson voting against the denial.

Since changes to the PUD were turned down, future development at Timbergate is now in limbo. Unless another developer comes forward, Section 3 and 4 of Timbergate won’t be built, said Dan Cartwright, town manager.

All lots in Sections 1 and 2 of the development are sold, with most occupied or under construction. Part of Section 3 has been platted but cannot be built on without another investor because Amos has not built roads or utility connections, Cartwright said.

Until a new developer comes forward, the land will remain grassy space on the golf course.