City council to decide: Is park-side residential development with little onsite greenspace a fair trade for a warehouse?

Next Wednesday (April 7), the city council could make a decision on a rezone request that would allow the redevelopment of the warehouse across the B-Line Trail from the pickleball courts in Bloomington’s new 65-acre Switchyard Park.

This week, the city council’s four-member land use committee used a second meeting to review the requested rezone—a revision to the existing planned unit development (PUD)—which would allow a mixed-use residential and commercial project to be built.

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, with around 235 bedrooms and up to 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Four of the buildings, on the northern part of the site, would consist of town homes—a total of 19 units with four bedrooms apiece.

Based on remarks from Doug Bruce with Tabor/Bruce Architecture & Design, the project architect, the start to any construction work would be a year or more away, if the rezone request were approved.

On Wednesday, land use committee members had some lingering concerns about the project that are associated with the rezone, centered on the amount of impervious surface it would include. The proposed impervious surface is up to 80 percent of the site, compared to 60 percent that would be allowed if the base zoning requirements were followed for the MN (mixed use neighborhood scale) zoning district.

A measure of committeemembers’ concern was the tally on their vote to recommend that the full council approve it. The vote was 1–0, with support only from Isabel Piedmont-Smith. Abstaining from the vote were Steve Volan, Matt Flaherty and Kate Rosenbarger. Continue reading “City council to decide: Is park-side residential development with little onsite greenspace a fair trade for a warehouse?”

87-acre site once mulled as new home for ST Semiconductor may get negotiated rezoning by Bloomington city council

The aerial image, dated April 2020, is from the Pictometry module of Monroe County’s online property lookup system.

After nearly becoming a new home for ST Semiconductor in 1988, an 87-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Fullerton Pike and the I-69 has sat undeveloped for more than three decades.

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 consensus was put this way by Wisler: “It’s very, very clear to me that what needs to happen here is some negotiation.” Continue reading “87-acre site once mulled as new home for ST Semiconductor may get negotiated rezoning by Bloomington city council”

Land use committee sends 820-bed student housing proposal to full council with zero votes of support

Last Wednesday (Aug. 28) the Bloomington city council’s four-member land use committee signaled its dissatisfaction with several aspects of a proposed 820-bed student-oriented housing development at the site of the current Motel 6 property on North Walnut.

Three members abstained from the vote (Allison Chopra, Steve Volan and Chris Sturbaum) and one voted outright no (Isabel Piedmont-Smith) on the committee’s recommendation.

The committee’s roll call left the proposal with no votes of support, as it heads to back to  the full council’s agenda. The full council will be considering the proposal as a second reading this Wednesday (Sept. 4).

Collegiate Development Group is requesting planned unit development zoning (PUD) for its site plan—that’s why it’s in front of the city council, even after receiving a recommendation of approval from the plan commission in mid-June. Zoning is enacted through ordinances, so PUDs have to go through the city council.

Part of the mix in the PUD proposal is a proposed donation to the city’s housing development fund of around $2.46 million, and the funding of an additional bus route in the Bloomington Transit fixed-route system.

Continue reading “Land use committee sends 820-bed student housing proposal to full council with zero votes of support”

City council’s land use committee to discuss 820-bed student housing development

On Wednesday, Bloomington councilmembers will begin their deliberations on Collegiate Development Group’s proposed 820-bed planned unit development (PUD) on North Walnut at the site of the current Motel 6.

CDG location map iso Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 11.01.38 AMAt 5:30 p.m. the project will be considered by the four-member land use committee: councilmembers Allison Chopra, Isabel Piedmont-Smith, Chris Sturbaum and Steve Volan.

The regular meeting on Wednesday is set to start at 7:30 p.m.—when the council could possibly make changes to parking regulations on Dunn Street and along 17th Street. So the plan is for the land use committee to wrap up by 7:15 p.m.

When the CDG project had its first reading on July 31, the council voted to refer it to the land use committee. The committee will make a recommendation to the council as a whole.

[Meeting agendas and information packets are available for download on Bloomington’s website. They’re live streamed on CATS.]
Continue reading “City council’s land use committee to discuss 820-bed student housing development”