Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore zoning news conference

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- People who live in the Sandy Heights area of Jeffersonville are angry about plans to build a halfway house in the neighborhood.

A developer wants to turn an abandoned Optimist Club property into transitional apartments for recovering addicts and the homeless. But people who live in the area said they were taken by surprise when the property was rezoned to make way for the project.

Mary Lotze, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, is now trying to get her neighbors to sign a petition opposing the project.

"I think it's just a scheme to get people, the homeless, from out of downtown Jeff and put them someplace else," Lotze said.

Lotze and several of her neighbors said they were never notified before the Planning Commission and the City Council approved rezoning the property to make way for the complex.

"I'd like to be aware of what's going on in my backyard," she said.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who is running for re-election, agreed. He called a Monday news conference to tell the residents that he has filed an application to rezone the property back to its original single-family use.

"Sometimes mistakes get made, and I'm trying to fix one," Moore said.

Moore's application triggers a new round of public hearings.

"I'm confident they will be there, and they will be heard, and I'm confident we'll get this project stopped," Moore said.

Councilman Ron Ellis, who also sits on the planning commission, supported the apartment project. But he said he was not aware of the opposition and now backs the neighbors.

"I was given bad information," Ellis said. "If they don't want this apartment development here, I'm going to go along with them."

But not everyone in the neighborhood opposes the project.

Leslie Croft calls her neighbors "selfish."

"Over and over, I keep hearing, 'Well I want it and support it but not in my yard, not in my neighborhood.' Well, where would you want them to be?" Croft asked.

Lotze and many others said – not here.

"Make it a handicapped accessible park," Lotze said. "Make it a walking place for us older folks to walk."

The neighbors said they will show up in force when the Planning Commission meets on May 28.

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I cover a range of stories for WDRB, but really enjoy tracking what's going on at our State Capitol. I grew up on military bases all over the world, but am a Kentuckian at heart. I'm an EKU alum, and have lived in Louisville for 30 years.