Hearing set for planned subdivision designed for retirees

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A public hearing has been set for Tuesday, May 16, when Batesville’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen will consider a variance request from contractor Chris Brocato, who hopes to build a subdivision on the property that once housed the city’s youth baseball and softball fields and the city swimming pool.

Brocato purchased the property, located between Boothe and Pollard Streets, from the J.P. Hudson Park earlier this year. The ball fields have not been used in more than 20 years and the pool was abandoned and filled about the same time.

Several builders considered the property for housing over the years, but Brocato has been the first to initiate a project. He presented his plan to the city’s Planning Commission last month and received that board’s approval, including a variance request from normal subdivision approval.

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Brocato proposes to build the subdivision without sidewalks, required by city building codes, and must have the approval of aldermen to make the deviation. 

“I want to build these houses to improve our community and hopefully bring some retirement age people to see what we have to offer in our city,” Brocato said. “A lot of people want to get out of the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan areas.”

The subdivision will be named The Meadows on Cottage Lane, he said.

Brocato, if given the blessing of the board, plans to build 16 cottage-style homes about 1,250 square feet in size. The brick homes will be two-bedroom single family residences and will only be sold to persons at least 50 years of age, he said.

Andy Berryhill, who heads the Code Enforcement Office told aldermen that Brocato’s request to forego sidewalks stems from his plan for the neighborhood, which will include year-around lawn care and all grass cutting provided by his company.

“His workers will be doing all of the grass cutting for the whole subdivision and he is trying to stay away from having all the extra trimming to do along those edges,” Berryhill told the board last week when he asked them to set a hearing. He said his office doesn’t expect any opposition to the plan, and Brocato has talked with homeowners on the streets that will adjoin the new project.

“These will have the look of places they want to live when they retire,” Brocato said. “We’re not going to put up anything that looks industrial or all the same.”

He said homeowners will be responsible for flower beds and extra plantings, but all normal grass maintenance will be part of the sales agreements.

Brocato’s plan calls for a cul-de-sac with a Boothe Street entrance and no thru traffic to Pollard Street. Because the planned cul-de-sac is more than 500 feet long (another Batesville code) the public hearing will also be used to request that variance, Berryhill said.