Bloomington paves way for park-side mixed-use residential project with rezone for warehouse

At its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council approved a rezone request that will allow the redevelopment of a warehouse—two-thirds of it, anyway—that sits just to the west of Switchyard Park and the B-Line Trail.

The approved rezone was a change to the existing planned unit development (PUD)—which would allow a seven-building mixed-use project to be constructed, with more than 200 bedrooms and up to 10,000 feet of commercial space.

The vote on the council was 9–0.

Councilmember Dave Rollo said, “I think that this is an excellent development. I think it’s actually a precedent-setting redevelopment.” Rollo added, “It’s sort of a setting-of-the-bar example, in my mind, of what to see in redevelopment petitions.”

The project associated with the rezone request would require the demolition of the southern two-thirds of the warehouse, which is the part controlled by McDoel Business Center owner Tom Brennan. The project also includes a parcel not in the footprint of the warehouse, on the south side of Hillside Drive, which is now a surface parking lot.

In place of the warehouse, and the parking lot, Brennan would like to construct seven buildings. A bedroom count  of 215 was provided for the seven buildings in the preliminary plan, which was included in the addendum to Wednesday’s city council information packet. Of the 215 units, 15 percent are required to be “affordable.” Continue reading “Bloomington paves way for park-side mixed-use residential project with rezone for warehouse”

Bloomington council says no to corridor zoning for 87-acre parcel

A requested rezone for 87 acres of land at the southern tip of Bloomington, next to I-69, was rejected by Bloomington’s city council at its meeting last Wednesday.

The requested rezone by owner Bill Brown—from PUD (planned unit development) to MC (mixed-use corridor)—was based on the idea that it would improve the marketability of the land, which has sat undeveloped under its current zoning for more than three decades.

The vote on the nine-member council was 1–7. Ron Smith’s was the sole vote of support. Steve Volan abstained when the roll was called. Continue reading “Bloomington council says no to corridor zoning for 87-acre parcel”

Proposed redevelopment of warehouse across from new Bloomington park sets stage for debate on density and green space

Image is from the Pictometry module of the Monroe County online property lookup system. The red outline shows the part of the warehouse that is part of the rezone request.

The warehouse across the B-Line Trail from the pickleball courts in Bloomington’s new 65-acre Switchyard Park is the subject of a rezone request that landed in front of the city council last Wednesday.

The project associated with the proposed rezone would require the demolition of the southern two-thirds of the warehouse, which is the part controlled by McDoel Business Center owner Tom Brennan.

The associated project would construct seven buildings containing a total of 19 townhomes and 104 multi-family apartments.

Last week’s city council meeting was just the occasion for the first reading of the rezone. So it didn’t get any action from the city council other than a referral to the council’s land use committee.

The land use committee is chaired by councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith. She weighed in during public commentary at the plan commission’s early-January hearing on the requested rezone. That likely foreshadows at least some of the committee’s deliberations—on the question of greenspace. Continue reading “Proposed redevelopment of warehouse across from new Bloomington park sets stage for debate on density and green space”

Century Village gets rezoned on 7–2 vote as Bloomington city council debates question: Who is saying college students are not people?

A rezoning for a 10-acre parcel of land on the east edge of town, at the intersection of SR-46 (3rd Street) and SR-446, has been approved by Bloomington’s city council.

The council’s approved rezoning, which had been unanimously recommended by the plan commission, changed a planned unit development (PUD) to a mixed-use corridor (MC) district.

It’s the same zoning change recommended as a part of the citywide zone map revision project, which will land in front of the plan commission in early March. So the council’s approval on Wednesday could be analyzed as enacting something a few months earlier than might have been enacted anyway.

The impact of the zoning decision is that any proposal for a specific project that conforms with MC zoning, will be reviewed only by the plan commission, not by the city council.

Dissenting were Dave Rollo and Kate Rosenbarger.

Continue reading “Century Village gets rezoned on 7–2 vote as Bloomington city council debates question: Who is saying college students are not people?”

Rezone request for 87 acres in Bloomington’s southwest tip continued by plan commission into 2021

On a vote taken by Bloomington plan commissioners in mid-December, a rezone request for an 87-acre parcel now zoned as a PUD (planned unit development) got continued to January’s commission meeting.

The request was first heard by Bloomington’s nine-member plan commission in November.

The planning staff’s position is that the commission should make a recommendation to the city council against the requested rezoning of the Bill C. Brown parcel at Fullerton Pike and I-69. The request is to change the zoning from its current PUD designation to MC (mixed-use corridor).

The owner’s position is that the existing zoning has contributed to the parcel’s lack of development over the last 30 years. Continue reading “Rezone request for 87 acres in Bloomington’s southwest tip continued by plan commission into 2021”

Leftover rezone request for warehouse next to Switchyard Park to start Bloomington plan commission’s year

A mixed-use development with 123 residential units, 184 parking spaces and 7,000 square feet of commercial space might be replacing the southern two-thirds of the warehouse just north of Hillside Drive next to Switchyard Park.

The development would also stretch south of Hillside Drive by one parcel.

To make a residential project possible at that location would require a rezone from the existing planned unit development zoning (PUD). The request is to maintain the PUD designation, but use different development standards from the existing PUD. A PUD is a kind of custom zoning, which includes its own custom development standards.

In December, plan commissioners voted unanimously to continue their deliberations until January, even though they appeared inclined to send the rezone proposal to the city council, with a positive recommendation.

A main sticking point for the city’s planning staff appeared to be the way townhomes are proposed to be oriented to the park. As the city’s development services manager Jackie Scanlan put it when she commented on the project renderings: “When you look down the sides of these buildings, you can tell that these are the sides of buildings, and we would prefer that they look like the front of buildings.”

Planning staff wanted to make sure that the development standards of the proposed PUD rezone—that is, the written narrative—require that the townhomes present their fronts to the park. An alternative to written development standards would be renderings that show townhomes facing the park.

That means the rezone request is set to be considered again by Bloomington’s plan commission at its first meeting of the year, on Jan. 11. Continue reading “Leftover rezone request for warehouse next to Switchyard Park to start Bloomington plan commission’s year”

Century Village rezoning request gets OK from plan commission, heads to city council for approval

The site of the controversial Century Village 590-bed student housing project on the east edge of town, denied by the city council two years ago, got a positive recommendation from Bloomington’s plan commission on Monday night—for a rezoning from planned unit development (PUD) to mixed-use corridor (MC).

At its final meeting of the year, the city’s plan commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the requested rezoning of about 10 acres of land near the intersection of SR-46 and SR-446.

A conceptual site plan that accompanied the rezoning request shows multi-family housing to be constructed in four buildings with a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments adding up to around 168 units, with about 240 bedrooms. The conceptual site plan is not a part of the recommendation from the plan commission.

The question that will now be put in front of the city council will be the same one considered by the plan commission: Should the land be rezoned from PUD to MC?

Once the zoning is in place, a site plan that conforms to the new zoning could eventually be approved just by the plan commission. Because a site plan that meets zoning requirements doesn’t require a change to local zoning code, it would not need approval from the city council.

In 2018, the land was proposed for a student-oriented housing development that would have included 590 bedrooms. The question in front of the city council at the time was a revision to the existing PUD zoning to allow for greater density.

According to the meeting minutes of Nov. 14, 2018, the city council voted down the rezoning at 1:32 a.m. on a tally of 0–8 with one abstention, from then-councilmember Chris Sturbaum. Continue reading “Century Village rezoning request gets OK from plan commission, heads to city council for approval”

Bloomington zoning map revision process headed towards up-down city council vote in first half of 2021

Public engagement for Bloomington’s zoning map revision process is underway, with three Zoom video-conference meetings now in the books and at least three more now listed on the city’s zoning map project page.

The image alternates between dark gray districts, which are currently zoned PUD, and the colors of the districts to which they’re proposed to be rezoned. The image links to the PUD story map created by the city’s planning staff.

Two meetings are scheduled that will each combine two controversial topics. The first topic is where to put the newly defined R4 district on the map. The second topic is possible changes to the text of the unified development ordinance (UDO), to allow for duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes in all the residential areas of the city.

The first of the R4-“plexes” meetings is set for Thursday this week, starting at 5:30 p.m. The project page also includes a link for a 9 a.m. Thursday “office hour” with a city planner, who will be available to take questions.

Where R4 (Residential Urban) districts are placed on the zoning map is controversial because R4 includes duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes as by-right, permitted uses, which some residents are opposed to allowing in areas that have up to now allowed only single-family houses.

Another way that “plexes” could be added to older neighborhoods is through a text amendment to the UDO that would change the allowed uses for R1 (Residential Large Lot), R2 (Residential Medium Lot), and R3 (Residential Small Lot) districts. Those districts would be changed to allow “plexes” as permitted or conditional uses.

One significant detail about the eventual process—which has emerged over the first set of meetings—involves the lack of flexibility that city councilmembers will have when the map revision reaches them for consideration next year.

Responding to a question to planning staff and the legal department from The Square Beacon, planning and transportation director Scott Robinson said that the city council will have just three options after it receives a recommended map from the plan commission: (1) adopt the proposal; (2) reject the proposal; (3) do nothing for 90 days. If the city council does nothing, the plan commission’s recommendation is enacted automatically.

That means the city council can’t amend the map, then adopt its amended map.

That’s different from changes to the text in the unified development ordinance. The city council could make amendments to the proposed changes to the text recommended by the plan commission, and adopt those changes as amended. Continue reading “Bloomington zoning map revision process headed towards up-down city council vote in first half of 2021”

Rezone for replacement of Brownstone Terrace gets plan commission recommendation, now goes to Bloomington city council

Aerial view from Monroe County GIS system of the Brownstone Terrace in spring 2020.
Aerial view from Monroe County GIS system of the Brownstone Terrace in spring 2020.

On Monday night, a project that would replace the predominantly student-rented Brownstone Terrace with a larger student-oriented development called The Standard got a unanimous recommendation of approval from Bloomington’s plan commission.

The specific request was for a rezoning. That’s why it now requires approval by Bloomington’s city council.

The rezoning request is from planned unit development (PUD) to a new zoning classification in the recently adopted unified development ordinance (UDO), which is multi-use student housing (MS).

The Standard would demolish several two-story buildings with a total of 120 apartments. The PUD zoning for the current project was approved by the plan commission in 1984.

In place of the current development, The Standard would build a new student-oriented, residential development with 433 apartments and 1,072 bedrooms in five- and six-story buildings. A parking garage with 681 parking spaces would be built as a part of the development. The project would fit within the zoning specifications of the requested MS zoning. Continue reading “Rezone for replacement of Brownstone Terrace gets plan commission recommendation, now goes to Bloomington city council”

Bloomington city council OKs Habitat for Humanity project to build 70 houses in southwest part of town

cropped Habitat Site Plan Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 3.43.26 PM
Habitat for Humanity’s Osage Place.

On Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council gave unanimous approval to the planned unit development (PUD) zoning required for a Habitat for Humanity project in the southwest part of town.

The project will extend five streets that are currently stubs, to construct 70 houses over the next seven to eight years. Continue reading “Bloomington city council OKs Habitat for Humanity project to build 70 houses in southwest part of town”