Legal wrangling on eminent domain for 4th Street parking garage continues as Bloomington disputes landowner’s objections on grounds of funding, design

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A view from the northwest corner of the  4th Street parking structure site on Jan. 22, 2020. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

On Tuesday, Bloomington filed its latest brief with the Monroe County circuit court in its attempt to use eminent domain to acquire the 222 S. Walnut building that houses Juan Carlos Carrasquel’s real estate business. Continue reading “Legal wrangling on eminent domain for 4th Street parking garage continues as Bloomington disputes landowner’s objections on grounds of funding, design”

UDO Update: Bloomington’s plan commission OKs city council amendments, elects officers, moves Trinitas PUD forward

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Jillian Kinzie adds the vice president tab to her nameplate, a position on Bloomington’s plan commission to which she was elected Monday night. (CATS screen grab)

At a meeting that took less than an hour Monday evening, Bloomington’s plan commission voted unanimously to approve the version of the updated unified development ordinance (UDO) that the city council adopted last year.

Commissioners also elected officers. Brad Wisler will continue as president, and Jillian Kinsey will serve as vice president.

The plan commission also sent a proposed planned unit development, from Trinitas Development, to the city council with a unanimous positive recommendation. The proposed project is on 39.29 acres on West 17th Street, southeast of the I-69 and SR 46 interchange.

The Trinitas development proposes to include 387 housing units, with a total of 825 bedrooms and 458 parking spaces. Trinities is proposing to turn over to the city 45 single-family lots to be used was whatever housing the city sees fit. Continue reading “UDO Update: Bloomington’s plan commission OKs city council amendments, elects officers, moves Trinitas PUD forward”

Judge says Bloomington cannot take JuanSells.com property to build a parking garage with ground-floor retail

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The view to the northwest at the corner of Walnut and 3rd Streets around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2019, shortly after the court’s ruling came in the eminent domain lawsuit, subject of which was the JuanSells.com building. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

In her ruling issued on Dec. 20, Holly Harvey, a judge in the Monroe Circuit Court, has found that the city of Bloomington cannot acquire the JuanSells.com property at 222 S. Walnut through eminent domain. Continue reading “Judge says Bloomington cannot take JuanSells.com property to build a parking garage with ground-floor retail”

Analysis: Amendments to Bloomington’s unified development ordinance to be debated, decided next week and beyond

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Much of the debate on the updated unified development ordinance has focused on whether duplexes and triplexes should be allowed in areas zoned as “residential core” and “residential single family” (or R3 and R2 in the updated zoning scheme). They’re circled in red in this zoning map.

The Bloomington city council’s hearing of a proposed update to the unified development ordinance (UDO) has already stretched across four separate evenings recently, starting with the first one on Oct. 16. It was followed by meetings on Oct. 22, Oct. 23 and Oct. 30.

The hearings each night on the city’s basic land use and development document consisted of staff presentations, councilmember questions, and opportunities for citizens to sway their elected representatives.

Next up this week are possible amendments to the UDO draft, which was recommended for approval by the plan commission’s 9–0 vote on Sept. 23.

Several amendments—starting with duplexes, triplexes, accessory dwelling units, and payments in lieu of providing onsite affordable units—are a part of the information packet for the council’s Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 meetings.

The 90-day window for city council action started a few days after the plan commission’s vote, when the outcome was certified to the council.

Based on the Sept. 26 submission date indicated on an amendment co-sponsored by councilmembers Chris Sturbaum and Dave Rollo, the first of the council’s amendments was submitted just about as soon as the plan commission’s draft was certified to the council. Continue reading “Analysis: Amendments to Bloomington’s unified development ordinance to be debated, decided next week and beyond”

Bloomington plan commission punts parking garage site plan to December

Bloomington’s plan commission voted at its regular meeting on Monday night to put off until December its consideration of the city’s proposed replacement parking garage at 4th and Walnut Streets

The site plan appeared on the agenda but was not indicated as continued, as it had been from August to September,  from September to October, and from October to November.

The short-handed plan commission voted Monday 5–0 for the continuance. That’s the minimum the nine-member commission needs for a quorum or for an affirmative vote. The site plan might be heard at the plan commission’s Dec. 9 meeting.

The reason for the repeated continuance on the site plan stems from the fact that the city does not own part of the land—the south end of the block between 4th and 3rd streets—on which the replacement garage is supposed to be built.

The site plan submitted by the city is for a six-story garage with 510 parking spaces and roughly 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. The footprint would extend for 4th Street to the south end of the block at 3rd Street. Continue reading “Bloomington plan commission punts parking garage site plan to December”

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”