Goshen Redevelopment OKs negotiations for River Race proposals

Community Development staff to begin negotiations with co-housing and town home groups.

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 10, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.

GOSHEN — After several months of debating which course for redeveloping the River Race would be most beneficial to the city, Goshen’s Redevelopment Commission decided Tuesday to proceed with trying to incorporate both proposals on the location.

Community Development staff now have the authorization to negotiate with the co-housing group, led by Richard Miller and Alan Ediger, and Matthews LLC, which proposed the town home development.

The two proposals first came forward in April, but at June’s meeting of the redevelopment commission, commissioners suggested the two parties investigate the possibility of combining the two proposals.

The Matthews and Miller groups met twice between the June and July meetings of the redevelopment commission to come to an agreement that would use both proposals in two sections.

The agreement will allow the Matthews group to negotiate to construct the townhouses on the northern section of the site and would allow the Miller group to negotiate for its co-housing development on the southern portion.

The current proposal that splits the location into two sections also shows a wall and vegetation separating the two developments. That physical separation is something commissioner Jeremy Stutsman would like to see removed from the negotiations.

Though an opening in the wall would allow for a walking path to go between the two developments, it wouldn’t be enough to satisfy Stutsman’s concerns.

“We’re trying to expand the community,” he explained in an interview Wednesday. “We’re not trying to create a gated community.”

Stutsman, who said he was originally in favor of awarding both sections to only the Miller group, ended up voting in favor of negotiating with both parties to “try to find what’s best for the community.”

Another concern Stutsman hopes the negotiations can address is the height of the town houses the Matthews group is proposing to build. As the plan stands, the houses would be over 40 feet tall, which Stutsman believes do not mesh well with the established neighborhoods of the area, despite the quality of the homes.

But though Community Development staff were authorized to negotiate with the Miller and Matthews groups, nothing is set in stone.

If one of the parties would leave the negotiations, the staff would be able to approach the remaining party to negotiate for both sections of the site.

There is no timetable to conclude the negotiations, however, which is how Stutsman likes it.

“The city has put a lot of money into that area,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s done correctly, so I’m in no hurry to push these negotiations faster than they need to go.”

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