A 140-acre tract of raw land in the southwest part of Bloomington could become the site of a five-neighborhood development with up to 6,000 housing units.
A proposed planned unit development (PUD) appears on the Bloomington plan commission’s Monday agenda, which would rezone the area to allow for the Summit District proposal to be built—over the course of the next eight years.
The property is located east of Weimer Road, and west of the RCA Community Park. It’s also west of some land owned by the Monroe County government. The county-owned land has received some discussion as a possible location of a new county jail facility.
A PUD is a zoning district that is custom-made for a particular site, and is meant to encourage “new and imaginative concepts in urban design and land development,” according to Bloomington’s unified development ordinance (UDO). A PUD is also supposed to “accommodate innovative development layouts that preserve the natural, environmental and scenic features of the site or address challenges presented by specific site conditions.”
Even though it departs from the standard requirements of the UDO, a PUD takes as a starting point some standard zoning district to define its regulations. For the Summit District PUD there are two base zoning districts: mixed-use neighborhood scale (MN) and residential high-density Multifamily (RH).
A final approval of the Summit District PUD would be at least a few months away. As a rezone request, the proposal will eventually have to be approved by Bloomington’s city council. The proposal will get at least two hearings in front of the plan commission—Monday’s will be the first.
Based on the city planning staff report on the proposal, there are many details yet to be worked out. City development services manager Jackie Scanlan’s memo to the plan commission puts it like this: “There will be changes and more details to discuss in the coming months, as the proposal is refined.”
Staff’s review of the proposal identifies several concerns, which temper the general support for the idea that the land should be developed. From the staff memo: “Development of the parcel is an exciting prospect for the City, but we must make sure that the scale and improvements are appropriate.”
The land was purchased by Sudbury Development Partners, LLC in February of 2023 for about $13.2 million.
Among the aspects of the proposal identified as problematic by the staff is the way the proposal includes verbatim many of the same regulations that are in the base zoning regulations, which creates confusion about which PUD regulations are actually different from the base zoning.
General questions identified by planning staff as warranting discussion include the following:
- Why does this need to be a PUD? What are we getting/giving here that traditional zoning cannot cover?
- How are the deviations requested from the UDO improving the future development of this site for the community?
- What is an appropriate phasing schedule for this development? Do different aspects needs to follow different timelines, such as the main roadways and separate neighborhood development?
- What highly-valued design features are being included in this design?
There are some basic threshold requirements for PUDs laid out in Bloomington’s UDO. Those threshold requirements are called “qualifying standards.”
One of the 13 different qualifying standards is the inclusion of income-restricted housing:
3. Where residential dwelling units are proposed, a minimum of 15 percent of the total dwelling units must be permanently income-limited through a deed restriction to households earning less than 120 percent of the HUD AMI for Monroe County, Indiana and the development will be subject to the applicable standards established in Subsection 20.04.110(c): Affordable Housing, unless the City otherwise adjusts or releases this requirement.;
How the Summit District PUD stacks up against the qualifying standards will likely be front and center for the plan commission’s Monday deliberations.
Monday’s meeting of the Bloomington plan commission starts at 5:30 p.m. in city council chambers.
From the July 10, 2023 Bloomington plan commission meeting packet:
|Neighborhood||Shasta Meadow||Denali Woods||Blanc Place||Whitney Glen||Everest Center||Total|
|Size||25.8 acres||32.7 acres||31.2 acres||12.3 acres||35.4 acres||137.4 acres|
|Expected Delivery||2025-2026||2025-2026||2029-2030||2029-2031||2026-2028||8 years|
Summit District PUD: Dynamic Map