The Development Status of Butler

NOTE: This section is subject to revision based on your feedback.

The Platting of Butler 

A community typically develops by way of plats.  A plat, as defined by the Butler Zoning Ordinance, is a map or chart that shows a division of land and/or the layout for subdivisions that is intended to be filed for record after approval by the Plan Commission.

The first three plats in Butler were recorded in 1855, as noted in the table below.  The plat with the largest number of individual lots is the “Butler Plat,” recorded in 1874.  The newest plat (2014) is the “Butler Partners” plat, site of the new Dollar General store.

Following is a listing of the plats that comprise Butler, sorted in alphabetical order:

Year Recorded
August T. Packer Addition1860
Bellvue Addition1905
Butler (Original Plat)1874
Butler Partners2014
C.R. Sawyer’s Addition1890
Chapman Trails, Phase 11998
Chapman Trails, Phase 22006
Danforth’s Addition1855
Egnew’s 2nd Addition1863
Egnew’s 3rd Addition1874
Egnew’s Addition1855
G.T. John’s Addition1881
Heller’s Addition1901
Highland Addition1910
Hubbell’s Addition1889
Janke Replat1956
Lingenfelter’s 2nd Addition1889
Lingenfelter’s Addition1887
Mason’s Addition1887
Mayorknoll Addition, Plat 11963
Mayorknoll Addition, Plat 21978
Mayorknoll Addition, Plat 31996
Norris Addition1885
Northwood Section I1974
Northwood Section II1981
Park View Addition1959
Park View Addition, Section 21962
Park View Addition, Section 31972
Sawyer’s Addition1889
Smith’s 1st Addition1953
Tomlinson’s 2nd Addition1902
Tomlinson’s 3rd Addition1912
Tomlinson’s Addition1855
Vanhorne’s Replat of Lots 51, 52, 53 and Pt.of Vacation Lane Drive in Northwood Section II2001
Wanamaker Addition1952
Westside Commercial Park2006

Plat development involves the construction of streets, water and sewer mains, as well as the construction of new buildings.   Awareness of the timeframe in which a plat was developed can provide insight into the age of the infrastructure within the plat.  This can help determine maintenance schedules and capital improvement plans.

Butler’s development pattern is primarily distinguished by the 40-year gap between the Tomlinson’s 3rd Addition plat of 1912, and the Wanamaker Addition plat of 1952.  The GIS aerial below illustrates the different plats in the northwest portion of Butler:

Plat differentiation
Platted Subdivisions in the Northwest area of Butler

The plats established before 1912 have smaller, narrower lots with smaller house front setbacks.  The plats established after 1952 have larger, wider lots where the houses are setback farther from the adjoining street.

Plats are generally associated with “subdivision plats,” where new houses are built on individual lots.  Development that occurs on parcels of real estate that are unplatted are defined by “metes and bounds” descriptions.  This type of development usually applies to such larger-scale developments as factories and shopping centers.

Development Status – Post 2000

Butler’s development status during the first decade of the 21st century experienced major changes.  Both the Citation (formerly Bohn Aluminum) and the Rods Indiana factories ceased operations and were placed on the real estate market.  The Knisely Bank became the Farmers and Merchants State Bank  Several new houses were built in the Mayerknoll and Chapman Trails subdivisions on the northwest side of Butler.

The national economic downturn of 2007-2008 was reflected in Butler as only one permit was issued for a new house, and no permits were issued for any new commercial developments until 2014.    Two local industries, Therma-Tru and Multimatic Indiana, did conduct expansions totaling a projected $12,965,000 of new investment and 201 new jobs.

Multimatic Indiana Site – Butler, Indiana – 2016

Butler’s municipal finances have been further constrained by the State of Indiana’s revamped property tax system that caps property taxes at one percent for residential properties, 2% for agricultural properties and 3% for industrial properties.

Housing Development Activity

Butler has struggled to obtain new housing development.  Housing  development was virtually non-existent in the early 1990s.  In 1995, the City of Butler  instituted a Residential Property Tax Abatement Program to encourage the development of  new housing in the community.  As of mid-2017, 44 residential tax abatement have granted for new single-family dwellings.

Housing construction on Independence Street – Chapman Trails Subdivision – January 2017

The majority of stick-built homes have been constructed in Northwood Section II,  Mayerknoll Plat III, and Chapman Trails Phases I & II.    A small number of new homes have been built as infill development on older city lots.  Habitat  for Humanity of Northeast Indiana has been the primary builder of homes on infill lots.  The South Shore  Manufactured Housing Community, approved for development in 1998, has been very slow to  develop.

2012 GIS aerial of South Shore Manufactured Housing site.

The City of Butler has made a considerable effort  to clean up existing neighborhoods through the enforcement of the City’s Unsafe Building Ordinance.  Dilapidated and abandoned properties are inspected and given a timeframe to be brought into compliance with the City’s Unsafe Building Ordinance.  Several dilapidated houses have been demolished.

Property at 201 East Monroe prior to Unsafe Building Enforcement action.
Property at 201 East Monroe after demolition.

New Housing vs. Demolished Housing

In the period 2000 to mid-2017, fifty-four dwelling units (single family houses and manufactured housing units) have been either demolished or removed in Butler.   Forty-seven new dwellings (single family houses and manufactured housing units) have been constructed or placed in Butler…a net loss of 7 dwelling units, as noted in the GIS aerial below.

Demolished vs New
Green dots indicate new housing units; red dots indicate demolished
or removed housing units.  (Click aerial to enlarge)

A majority of new dwelling units were constructed in the Chapman Trails and Mayerknoll subdivision additions on West Liberty and Independence streets.

Industrial Development Activity Since 2005

The main manufacturing operations within the Corporate Limits of Butler at the time of this Plan are:

Tri-Wall (International Paper) operates a 224,000 square foot facility located on a 51-acre parcel bordering on the Butler Corporate Limits that is served by a municipal sanitary sewer main.

Forest River Manufacturing, LLC announced in Fall of 2017 that it will start up operations on the former Evans Trucking / Celadon Logistics site at 685 East Main Street.  Forest River has stated that they will construct a 95,000+ square foot facility at this site in 2018.

The aforementioned SDI complex, located three to four miles from Butler on County Road 61, south of County Road 40, is significant to Butler as it is served by Butler’s sanitary sewer system.   The area includes the following industries:

Commercial Development Activity Since 2005

Butler’s commercial businesses vary from convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, to locally owned specialty shops, auto repair shops and restaurants.   A new commercial site was approved in 2005-2006 with the initial phase of the Westside Commercial Development, which resulted in the construction of a Dollar General Store.  There was also an addition to the DeKalb Health physicians’ office.  A new self-storage building was constructed on the west side of Butler in 2012.

A newer Dollar General store was constructed on Baldwin Street in 2014.

The next section will review common areas of development within Butler and seek to examine


What do you think were the most significant development issues that occurred during the time period of 2000 – 2019?  Please send a question or comment below via our Comments form.

We appreciate your participation and input.

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