First phase demolition for Hopewell: Bloomington picks Renascent for $589K job

By the end of summer, all but three of the buildings on a central Bloomington block, near the former IU Health hospital site, are set to be demolished.

It’s the area that has been named the Hopewell neighborhood.

On Tuesday evening, Bloomington’s board of public works, as well as the city’s redevelopment commission (RDC), approved the $588,755 contract with Indianapolis-based Renascent, Inc. for the demolition work.

It’s a separate demolition project from the one already underway on the west end of the former IU Health hospital site. IU Health has to demolish all the structures on the main site, except for the parking garage and the Kohr administration building, before transferring ownership to the city of Bloomington.

It’s part of a $6.5-million real estate deal. In early December last year,  IU Health moved to its new facility on the east side of town, on the SR 45/46 bypass.

The focus of the demolition work approved on Tuesday is Phase 1 East in the city’s master plan for redevelopment of the former hospital site.  It’s the block bounded by 1st and 2nd streets on the north and south, and Morton and Rogers on the east and west. The demolition contract approved on Tuesday involves property already under the city’s control. Continue reading “First phase demolition for Hopewell: Bloomington picks Renascent for $589K job”

Old Colonial Crest redux: Bloomington OKs mostly same site plan for 671-bedroom student-oriented housing project, but under different zoning

Approved by Bloomington’s plan commission on Monday night was a site plan for a project that would demolish the old Colonial Crest apartment complex, now called The Arch, on the north side of town.

In the place of 206 apartments and 393 bedrooms, spread across 15 separate two-story buildings, the developer plans to construct four residential buildings with a total of 241 apartments and 675 bedrooms, according to a letter from Smith Design Group, which is the consultant for the Aspen TOPCO II Acquisitions project.

That nets roughly 270 more bedrooms on the same site.

It’s basically the same site plan that the plan commission approved in mid-June.

According to Bloomington senior zoning planner Eric Greulich, the big difference between the version approved by the plan commission on Monday, compared to what was approved three months ago, is the lack of any new public roads proposed inside the project site.

Instead, Greulich said, one long driveway will wind through the site, with perpendicular parking off the driveway. A total of 495 parking spaces is included in the site plan. Continue reading “Old Colonial Crest redux: Bloomington OKs mostly same site plan for 671-bedroom student-oriented housing project, but under different zoning”

Circuit court trial on demolition permit could come before mid-March BZA hearing on $83.5K fine

Now expected to appear on the March 19 agenda of Bloomington’s board of zoning appeals (BZA) meeting is an objection to the city’s decision last fall to impose an $83,500 fine on the owners of a West 7th Street house.

The owners demolished the house without a required certificate of zoning compliance (CZC).

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View of 523 West 7th St. facing south on Jan. 21, 2020. A house stood there until late September 2019.

The house had previously been reviewed by the city’s historic preservation commission for historic designation.

The BZA hearing was originally set for last November, but it has been put off a couple of times due to scheduling conflicts.

In the last week of February, a related lawsuit filed by the owners against city and county officials saw a light flurry of filings in the Monroe County circuit court. The lawsuit seeks a mandate from the court ordering the city’s planning and transportation director, Terri Porter, to issue the required CZC.

The question now is whether a ruling on the court case will come before or after the BZA hearing.

Just how connected are the court case and the BZA hearing? Continue reading “Circuit court trial on demolition permit could come before mid-March BZA hearing on $83.5K fine”

Owners of demolished house fight Bloomington’s $83.5K fine two ways: Court action, appeal to BZA

After the owners of a house on West 7th Street demolished it last year, the city of Bloomington imposed an $83,500 fine—for not first getting a certificate of zoning compliance.

Before the house was demolished, it was reviewed for possible historic designation. According to city officials, it was still under the review process, when it was demolished.

The city imposed the fine in late October, after the house was demolished on Sept. 27.

What has happened since then?

Baker and Holdman immediately appealed to the city’s board of zoning appeals (BZA). A bit later, in mid-December, they filed a mandamus action in Monroe’s circuit court. Continue reading “Owners of demolished house fight Bloomington’s $83.5K fine two ways: Court action, appeal to BZA”

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”

Bloomington fines owner of property $83.5K for demolishing historic house without permit, owner to appeal

According to a press released issued Monday afternoon and subsequent clarification from the city, Bloomington’s department of planning and transportation has levied an $83,500 fine against the owners of a house on 7th Street. They demolished the house in late September without first obtaining a certificate of zoning compliance.

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523 W. 7th Street on Sept. 30, 2019 (Dave Askins/Beacon)

On Aug. 8, the city’s historic preservation commission (HPC) recommended the house to the city council for historic designation. The commission’s resolution did not explicitly say that the house was being put under interim protection.

But the requirement of a certificate of zoning compliance before demolition applies to structures whether or not they’re under consideration for historic designation. It was the owners’ request for such a certificate that led to the demolition delay process, which the HPC was following when it made its recommendation for historic designation.

The amount of the fine, according to the press release, was based on a penalty levied for each day the property was in violation of the city code, but capped at the most recent assessed value of the house and garage by Monroe County’s auditor.

Late Monday afternoon, Bloomington’s corporation counsel, Philippa Guthrie, told The Beacon that the property owners, David Holdman and Judie Baker, had filed an appeal of the city’s decision to fine them.

A notice of the violation was sent to  Holdman and Judie Baker on Oct. 16, according to the press release. The press release says that the property owners have a right to appeal to the city’s board of zoning appeals within five days of the date of the notice.

Guthrie said the appeal is currently set for the BZA’s next meeting, which is Nov. 21. Continue reading “Bloomington fines owner of property $83.5K for demolishing historic house without permit, owner to appeal”

Historic house teardown technicalities could add fuel to upcoming UDO debate

The demolition late last week of the house at 523 W. 7th Street was initially analyzed as a flagrant flouting of Bloomington’s due process  for assigning historic designation to a property. That’s because the city’s historic preservation commission passed a resolution on Aug 8, recommending to the city council that it vote to designate the house as a separate historic district.

Conor Herterich, the city’s historic preservation program manager, told The Beacon on Monday that the demolition violated the property’s interim protection against demolition—a protection provided by the commission’s resolution.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, however, it appears that the commission’s resolution, initially believed by city officials to have given the house interim protection, was not worded so that the intended protection was given. The meeting minutes from the Aug. 8 meeting say: “…the HPC recommends its historic designation under Title 8 of the BMC to the Common Council with the attached map.” There doesn’t appear to have been any explicit mention of “interim protection.”

Based on information from a source with the city, there’s been an preliminary conclusion by city staff that the property owners did not flout any interim protection, because the wording of the resolution didn’t explicitly mention “interim protection.” According to the source, there’s a second technicality that’s apparently in favor of the property owner, David Holdman. The second technical glitch is the city’s possible failure to give Holdman proper notice of the HPC’s finding and recommendation. Continue reading “Historic house teardown technicalities could add fuel to upcoming UDO debate”

Photo: Demolition of 4th Street parking garage starts in earnest

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Demolition of the 4th Street parking garage in downtown Bloomington started in earnest on Thursday morning. Streets have been blocked off since early September of the work. The city issued a press release earlier this week with some details of the work that has gone on mostly out of view, alerting members of the public that the garage would soon start crumblin, tumbling down. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

4th Street parking structure site plan review pushed to October

The Bloomington plan commission’s already-started review of the city’s 4th Street parking garage site plan proposal has been given another continuance, according to the planning department’s development services manager, Jackie Scanlan.

Calendar Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 2.21.30 AMIt’s the second continuance approved by the department under Article VIII (B) of the plan commission’s rules and procedures. The first one bumped the review from the August to the September meeting.

This time, the delay is from Sept. 9 to Oct. 7.

The plan commission considered the site plan at its July meeting. Commissioners took a 3–4 vote to continue the matter, but no commissioner made a motion to recommend approval. So the commission was left without having passed a motion. That meant it was continued by default to August. Continue reading “4th Street parking structure site plan review pushed to October”

Sept. 3 start for $1.48M demolition of Bloomington’s 4th Street parking garage

At Monday evening’s meeting of Bloomington’s Redevelopment Commission, a guaranteed maximum for the demolition of the city’s 4th Street garage was approved: $1,482,393.

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Dan Fetz, with F.A. Wilhelm Construction, the construction manager for Bloomington’s 4th Street replacement garage, opens bids for the demolition  of the existing garage July 9, 2019 (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The timeline for demolition was also laid out, which includes a start date of Sept. 3, the day after the Labor Day holiday. The week before, starting Aug. 29, downtown visitors will see lane closures on Walnut and Fourth streets, to prepare for the demolition.

The roughly $1.48 million guaranteed maximum for the demolition is the figure that the city staff negotiated with the construction manager for the project, which is F.A. Wilhelm Construction. The amount is based on a low bid from Denney Excavating out of Plainfield.

Wilhelm received bids from three companies, which were opened on July 9. Base bids at the opening were read as follows: Renascent, Inc. ($1,267,000); Denney Excavating ($810,000); and O’Rourke Wrecking Company ($1,037,000).

Those amounts were all adjusted upward after the scope of the demolition project was adjusted. Denney’s base bid, with the scope adjustment, was accepted at $1,025,400. Continue reading “Sept. 3 start for $1.48M demolition of Bloomington’s 4th Street parking garage”