236-bedroom project on east side gets green light from Bloomington plan commission

Getting unanimous approval from Bloomington’s plan commission on Monday night was a development on the east side of town that will construct 176 new apartments with 236 total bedrooms in five buildings.

Called The Overlook on 3rd, the planned development also includes a self-storage building and a clubhouse, and 265 parking spaces.

The site is a vacant parcel on the south side of 3rd Street,  just west of the WHCC radio tower. The new development will leave in place existing buildings in the immediate vicinity.

The plan commission’s Monday night discussion centered on the new driveway cut onto 3rd Street. The new cut will replace an existing driveway opening that is offset from Morningside Drive to the north. The new driveway entrance, from the south, is planned to align with Morningside Drive.

The question of the driveway entrance nearly caused the petition to be delayed. But a motion to continue consideration of the petition until the plan commission’s October meeting failed on a 3–6 vote.

It was Andrew Cibor, who serves on the plan commission in his capacity as city engineer, who moved to continue the petition until October.

Cibor noted at the start of the meeting that the developer, Overlook on 3rd, LLC, had earlier the same day submitted a traffic study to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Cibor said that it would be helpful for planning staff to be able review the traffic study before the plan commission considered the petition.

The developer, represented at Monday’s hearing by Bill Beggs, an attorney with Bunger & Robertson, weighed in against the potential delay. He indicated that the petition had already been delayed by a month.

Beggs said, “We got to the brink of last month’s hearing and found out—I think about less than 24 business hours before the hearing—that there was a concern about utilities. And now we found out about 45 minutes before this hearing that there’s another issue.”

Instead of delaying the petition, Beggs asked the plan commission to add as a condition of approval that the project must meet whatever requirements INDOT imposes, based on the traffic study. That’s what the plan commission wound up doing.

Josh Rogers, an engineer with American Structurepoint, which is the developer’s consultant on the project, told plan commissioners that the scope of the 3rd Street traffic study goes from the intersection of SR 446 on the east to Park Ridge Road on the west.

That means it does not include the intersection of 3rd Street and College Mall Road, farther to the west, which has been the subject of some complaints, plan commissioner Susan Sandberg said at Monday’s meeting. Sandberg is an at-large city councilmember, who serves as the council’s appointee to the plan commission.

On Monday night, Sandberg said, “We just got an email on the city council today from a constituent who was really concerned about the traffic signaling and the difficulties in making turns on College Mall on Third Street, which is controlled by INDOT, and not the city of Bloomington.”

It was in February 2021 when the city council gave approval for the zoning change necessary for the project. The council’s approval changed the zoning from planned unit development (PUD) to mixed-use corridor (MC).

One thought on “236-bedroom project on east side gets green light from Bloomington plan commission

  1. Seems odd that we keep being told by all entities that these apartment developments don’t add to traffic burden because of their orientation near transit, allowing residents to not have/use cars. Yet here we have more parking spaces than bedrooms? Is there any development that Plan Commission won’t approve?

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