Monday’s session was the regular monthly meeting for the plan commission, which a week ago wrapped up its work on a 10-ordinance package of proposed changes to the city’s unified development ordinance. Wednesday’s meeting kicks off the city council’s work on that package.
Unlike that 10-ordinance package, the conversion of the motel to “micro-apartments” will not get a review by the city council. Monday’s plan commission’s approval cleared the way to the permitting process, which could mean 85 additional one-bedroom apartments available for rent by the fall.
For Bloomington’s city council, a first glimpse of a 10-ordinance package of revisions to the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO, and the citywide zone map, will come at a Friday (April 9) noon work session.
On Friday morning, the city of Bloomington filed its last brief with the state’s court of appeals, in the case that will decide who has the rightful claim to a Bloomington city plan commission seat.
Is it Chris Cockerham, the appointment made in summer 2020 by Bloomington’s mayor, Democrat John Hamilton? Or is it Andrew Guenther, the appointment made earlier, in the spring of 2020, by Monroe County GOP chair William Ellis?
Both Cockerham and Guenther are currently Republicans, under the statutory definition of party affiliation. The appointee could not be a Democrat, because that would exceed the limit of appointees who are members of the same political party.
Now starts the wait for the court of appeals to decide how to handle the case. It seems somewhat unlikely that the whole lawsuit would be wrapped up before the plan commission considers the question of an upcoming citywide zone map revision. Cockerham has bee serving on the plan commission since summer 2020.
The lack of any development on the site during that time has led owner Bill Brown to ask for a rezoning of the land, from the current planned unit development (PUD) district to mixed-use corridor (MC).
At a plan commission meeting in late 2020, Michael Carmin, who represents Brown, said he’s been approached for possible development of a hotel in the southwest corner of the property, next to I-69. He’s also been approached to develop a large part of the property as a training center for fire and emergency services.
The proposed rezone will find its way in front of the city council in a few weeks.
At their January meeting, commissioners voted affirmatively 6–2–1 to send the rezone request to the council with no recommendation. It’s not a common move, but plan commission president Brad Wisler said at the commission’s January meeting he thinks it’s been done before.
The city planning staff recommended denial of the rezoning based on the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for the area to be an employment center.
The split vote reflected disagreement among the commissioners about how to signal their intent to the city council—about which they had a general consensus.
They did not think the proposal from Brown should be adopted in its current form. But they did not want the city council to see a recommendation of denial from both the plan commission and the plan staff, and because of that, let the proposal die without some additional consideration.
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.