Schedule of days for UDO hearings set, leaves scant room for other city council business by year’s end

Bloomington’s city council made some progress on Wednesday night towards setting its schedule for hearing, amending and adopting an updated unified development ordinance. cropped udo schedule calendar-4159913_1280The sometimes tedious character of the half-hour discussion on scheduling was summed up by the council’s attorney/administrator Dan Sherman, when he said to the council, “Thank you for entertaining that can of worms!”

One basic feature of the schedule was already known, based on discussion at a work session last Friday: Hearings on revisions to the city’s basic land use document will start on Oct. 16, which is a Wednesday, the usual day for council meetings.

But the start time for Wednesday’s event will be different from regular meetings. It will be called to order at 6 p.m. And it won’t go past 10 p.m.—unless the council votes at the meeting to extend the time, based on how things unfold at the meeting.

The 6 p.m. start time is common to all of the scheduled UDO hearing dates, except for one. How long the other meetings will last, time limits for public speaking turns and time limits for councilmember questions and comments will be decided at the Oct. 16 meeting.

On Wednesday, the council voted to adopt a schedule featuring a dozen dates for work on the UDO update. The first four meetings are devoted to presentation of parts of the updated UDO and public commentary. That is, no amendments will be considered at the first four hearings.

Preliminary UDO hearing schedule

Oct. 16 Chapter 1, Chapter 2, structuring debate
Oct. 22 Chapter 3
Oct. 23 Chapter 4, Chapter 5
Oct. 30 Chapter 6, Chapter 7, consideration of written objections
Nov. 04 FIRST DEADLINE FOR AMENDMENTS SUBMITTED BY COUNCILMEMBERS
Nov. 13 Consideration of amendments non-UDO business?
Nov. 14 Consideration of amendments
Nov. 19 Consideration of amendments
Nov. 20 Consideration of amendments
Nov. 24 SECOND DEADLINE FOR AMENDMENTS SUBMITTED BY COUNCILMEMBERS
Dec. 04 [6:30 p.m.] Announcement of further UDO consideration? non-UDO business?
Dec. 10 Consideration of amendments
Dec. 11 non-UDO business?
Dec. 12 Consideration of amendments
Dec. 17 Consideration of amendments
Dec. 18 Further consideration of written objections; FINAL ACTION

The schedule is subject to revision by vote of the council. The public can monitor a separate web page set up on the city’s website for scheduling information. Continue reading “Schedule of days for UDO hearings set, leaves scant room for other city council business by year’s end”

Bloomington’s plan commission sends revised unified development ordinance (UDO) to city council with 9–0 recommendation to adopt

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Plan commission chair Joe Hoffmann got interrupted briefly at Monday’s meeting by other commissioners who gave him a round of applause to recognize his 32 years of service on the plan commission. It was his last meeting, special or regular, as a plan commissioner.

Bloomington’s plan commission voted 9–0 Monday night to recommend adoption of a revised version of the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO) to the city council. That starts a 10-day clock ticking for the commission’s action to be certified. Once certified, the city council has 90-days to act on the commission’s recommendation.

The 19 hours and 9 minutes worth of hearings held by the commission, starting in late August, were on occasion punctuated by contentious remarks delivered from the public podium. Particular points of controversy were duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes in core neighborhoods, as well as accessory dwelling units.

The recommended UDO that the city council will take up, probably starting in mid-October, makes accessory dwelling units conditional uses. An amendment approved by the planning commission in the last couple of weeks changed them from accessory uses to conditional uses.

The updated UDO recommended by the plan commission allows the du- tri- and four-plexes only as conditional uses. A plan commission amendment to make them by-right failed. City planning staff prepared an amendment that would prohibit plexes in core neighborhoods, but none of the plan commissioners moved it for consideration. Continue reading “Bloomington’s plan commission sends revised unified development ordinance (UDO) to city council with 9–0 recommendation to adopt”

Sawtooth tech district parking garage with 379 parking spaces gets Bloomington plan commission OK

Based on the city plan commission’s unanimous recommendation Monday night, downtown Bloomington will be getting roughly 250 more parking spaces by the end of 2020.

Winning approval from commissioners was a three-story, 369379-space parking structure that the city will build on a wedge of land in downtown’s technology district. The site is flanked by the B-Line trail on the west and the Showers building, which houses city hall and CFC Business Plaza, on the east. The Beacon counted more than a hundred parking spaces in the surface lot currently at that location.

Last year, on Dec. 13, the city council approved the $10.96 million worth of tax increment revenue bonds from the Bloomington Redevelopment District that will be used to pay for the structure. Continue reading “Sawtooth tech district parking garage with 379 parking spaces gets Bloomington plan commission OK”

Hoffmann to helm plan commission just until end of month, a chance UDO will wrap up by then

For his last vote at a regular meeting of Bloomington’s plan commission, Joe Hoffmann joined in the unanimous decision of the other commissioners Monday night, giving approval to the city’s proposed new three-story, 379-space parking garage to be built just west of city hall.

Hoffmann has served 32 years on the plan commission, which is the city’s land use and development policy body. Mayor John Hamilton used the commission’s agenda slot for reports and communications near the start of the meeting to issue a proclamation declaring Sept. 9, 2019 as Joe Hoffmann Day in Bloomington. Hamilton pegged the number of plan commission meetings Hoffmann had attended at around 380.

Hoffmann will serve through September. That means he still has possibly four more commission meetings to attend—they’re special meetings to conduct hearings and to make a recommendation to the city council on a new, revised unified development ordinance (UDO). And he might get a chance to vote on the final UDO recommendation that’s sent to the city council, if those four meetings wrap up the commission’s work on the UDO. Continue reading “Hoffmann to helm plan commission just until end of month, a chance UDO will wrap up by then”

Land use committee sends 820-bed student housing proposal to full council with zero votes of support

Last Wednesday (Aug. 28) the Bloomington city council’s four-member land use committee signaled its dissatisfaction with several aspects of a proposed 820-bed student-oriented housing development at the site of the current Motel 6 property on North Walnut.

Three members abstained from the vote (Allison Chopra, Steve Volan and Chris Sturbaum) and one voted outright no (Isabel Piedmont-Smith) on the committee’s recommendation.

The committee’s roll call left the proposal with no votes of support, as it heads to back to  the full council’s agenda. The full council will be considering the proposal as a second reading this Wednesday (Sept. 4).

Collegiate Development Group is requesting planned unit development zoning (PUD) for its site plan—that’s why it’s in front of the city council, even after receiving a recommendation of approval from the plan commission in mid-June. Zoning is enacted through ordinances, so PUDs have to go through the city council.

Part of the mix in the PUD proposal is a proposed donation to the city’s housing development fund of around $2.46 million, and the funding of an additional bus route in the Bloomington Transit fixed-route system.

Continue reading “Land use committee sends 820-bed student housing proposal to full council with zero votes of support”

4th Street parking structure site plan review pushed to October

The Bloomington plan commission’s already-started review of the city’s 4th Street parking garage site plan proposal has been given another continuance, according to the planning department’s development services manager, Jackie Scanlan.

Calendar Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 2.21.30 AMIt’s the second continuance approved by the department under Article VIII (B) of the plan commission’s rules and procedures. The first one bumped the review from the August to the September meeting.

This time, the delay is from Sept. 9 to Oct. 7.

The plan commission considered the site plan at its July meeting. Commissioners took a 3–4 vote to continue the matter, but no commissioner made a motion to recommend approval. So the commission was left without having passed a motion. That meant it was continued by default to August. Continue reading “4th Street parking structure site plan review pushed to October”

4th Street parking garage site plan review delayed a month

The Bloomington plan commission’s already-started review of the city’s 4th Street parking garage site plan proposal won’t resume until Sept. 9.

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The Monday, Aug. 12, meeting packet, which was posted on the city’s website Friday afternoon, includes the parking garage site plan under the heading: “Petitions Continued To: September 19, 2019”

Based on the outcome of deliberations at the July 8 meeting of the plan commission, discussion of the 4th Street parking garage was expected to be continued at the Monday, Aug. 12 meeting, with a possible vote on the question.

Why is the site plan review being continued an additional month? And how can a continuance to September happen without the plan commission voting to continue the issue to September?

The answers to both those questions were provided by city planner Jackie Scanlan in response to an emailed question from The Beacon.

She wrote: “Per our Rules and Procedures, Article VIII (B), petition continuances can be approved by [planning and transportation] if the requests are made more than a week before the hearing. That is what occurred in this case. The petitioner (City) requested continuance in response to the desire of some Plan Commissioners to wait until the eminent domain process is further settled.” Continue reading “4th Street parking garage site plan review delayed a month”

Bloomington plan commission to take up city’s 4th Street parking garage site plan again in August amid doubts about legal authority to act on it

At Monday’s meeting—when some plan commissioners questioned their own legal authority to act on the petition—no decision was made on the city of Bloomington’s proposal to build a replacement parking structure at the 4th and Walnut site.

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Juan Carlos Carrasquel, whose building at 222 S. Walnut is the target of a City of Bloomington eminent domain action, addresses Bloomington’s plan commission on July 8, 2019. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The current garage, evaluated as structurally unsound, has sat derelict since the first of the year.

The commission will take up the site plan review again at its Aug. 12 meeting, possibly with a full complement of its nine members. Two commission members did not attend Monday’s meeting, which factored into the lack of a decision.

The question of legal authority arose, because the proposed site of the replacement garage would include some property at the south end of the block that the city does not currently own—the building that is home to Juansells.com Realty Company. Continue reading “Bloomington plan commission to take up city’s 4th Street parking garage site plan again in August amid doubts about legal authority to act on it”

Plan commission OKs common council amendments, so Bloomington now has transportation plan

At its Monday meeting, exactly eight months after Bloomington’s plan commission gave its initial approval of the city’s transportation plan, commissioners approved 40 amendments to the plan made by the common council.

Replacement Photo Transportation Plan Amendments -- Return to Plan Commission - Packet
Example of one common council amendment to the transportation plan, swapping out an image for typical cross section for Suburban Connectors with one that shows three extra feet for protecting bicycle lanes.

The transportation plan, with final approval from the plan commission, now replaces the 2002 Master Thoroughfare Plan and the 2008 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and Greenways System Plan.

No one from the public offered comment Monday night. The plan had previously been scrutinized by the public and the common council in a process that began in late 2017.

The common council adopted the 40 amendments at its May 22 meeting. Because the proposed transportation plan changed after the plan commission’s initial approval, the amendments were back in front of the commission for its consideration on Monday.

At the meeting, plan commission chair Joe Hoffmann drew out the fact that the plan commission could object to some or all of the amendments, and send their objections back to the common council, but as a practical matter, under state statute, it is the common council that has the last word on it. Continue reading “Plan commission OKs common council amendments, so Bloomington now has transportation plan”

Plan commission OKs The Mill, 130 more apartment units to be added to Bloomington

Given site plan approval by Bloomington’s plan commission at its Monday meeting was The Mill, a five-building, 130-unit apartment complex in a development in the southwest part of town, near Summit Elementary. Construction is expected to start by August or September.

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Rendering of The Mill from  the July 8, 2019 meeting packet for Bloomington’s plan commission.

Completion of the project is targeted for August 2020, according to an email to The Beacon from Steve Brehob, who is president of Smith, Brehob & Associates, which is handling the site planning for The Ridge Group, a Muncie-based firm.

According to documents in the plan commission’s packet, each of the five buildings will include 26 units with a mix of studios, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments.
Continue reading “Plan commission OKs The Mill, 130 more apartment units to be added to Bloomington”