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Indian Hills restaurant hearing scheduled Thursday

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Twenty-five-year Indian Hills resident Sharon Fitzgerald believes a zoning change to allow construction of a restaurant at the neighborhood entrance “would benefit a few at the expense of many.”

“It seems to me we’re setting a dangerous precedent,” said Fitzgerald, who moved into the neighborhood with husband Lendell in 1989.

The City Council will conduct a public hearing Thursday at a 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall on Indian Hills ownership’s request to change its planned unit development zoning for construction of a “high-quality, sit-down” eatery on two acres just south of Calumet Trace.

Golf course owners have said the zoning change and land sale will help them lower debt and keep the golf course operating. But Fitzgerald and several other homeowners don’t believe the golf course and neighborhood should be compromised at their expense because of poor golf course management.

“I feel like there’s no protection for us if we start chipping away at the planned unit development,” Fitzgerald said, adding she believes better marketing could help the course.

Many neighbors were upset when golf course owners sold South Church Street frontage property several years ago for construction of a Bojangles chicken restaurant, she pointed out.

The new proposal will require the par-4 12th-hole tee box near the neighborhood entrance to be moved closer to houses, turning it into a par 3 over a pond. That would create back-to-back par 3’s on the course.

“It will change the character of the golf course,” Fitzgerald said, adding she has played hundreds of rounds there and enjoyed being able make par on No. 12.

Fitzgerald said she’s also concerned about traffic congestion the restaurant could cause. It is to have an entrance from the northbound lane of South Church Street, but its exit will be onto Calumet Trace.

Indian Hills General Manager Jim McElyea, one of four owners, could not be reached for comment this week.
After meeting with neighbors in January, golf course owners agreed to commit to these requirements, according to project engineer Bill Huddleston:

1. Restricted covenants would be drafted, by the City Council’s second reading, prohibiting any further commercial development along South Church Street through changes in the Indian Hills planned unit development.

2. Monument signs and landscaping areas at the Calumet main entrance would be deeded to the Homeowners’ Association.

3. An existing berm and trees on the entrance’s north side would be extended west to screen the proposed restaurant from the closest residence.

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