Bloomington paves way for park-side mixed-use residential project with rezone for warehouse

At its Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council approved a rezone request that will allow the redevelopment of a warehouse—two-thirds of it, anyway—that sits just to the west of Switchyard Park and the B-Line Trail.

The approved rezone was a change to the existing planned unit development (PUD)—which would allow a seven-building mixed-use project to be constructed, with more than 200 bedrooms and up to 10,000 feet of commercial space.

The vote on the council was 9–0.

Councilmember Dave Rollo said, “I think that this is an excellent development. I think it’s actually a precedent-setting redevelopment.” Rollo added, “It’s sort of a setting-of-the-bar example, in my mind, of what to see in redevelopment petitions.”

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. A bedroom count  of 215 was provided for the seven buildings in the preliminary plan, which was included in the addendum to Wednesday’s city council information packet. Of the 215 units, 15 percent are required to be “affordable.” Continue reading “Bloomington paves way for park-side mixed-use residential project with rezone for warehouse”

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?”

Proposed redevelopment of warehouse across from new Bloomington park sets stage for debate on density and green space

Image is from the Pictometry module of the Monroe County online property lookup system. The red outline shows the part of the warehouse that is part of the rezone request.

The warehouse across the B-Line Trail from the pickleball courts in Bloomington’s new 65-acre Switchyard Park is the subject of a rezone request that landed in front of the city council last Wednesday.

The project associated with the proposed rezone 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 associated project would construct seven buildings containing a total of 19 townhomes and 104 multi-family apartments.

Last week’s city council meeting was just the occasion for the first reading of the rezone. So it didn’t get any action from the city council other than a referral to the council’s land use committee.

The land use committee is chaired by councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith. She weighed in during public commentary at the plan commission’s early-January hearing on the requested rezone. That likely foreshadows at least some of the committee’s deliberations—on the question of greenspace. Continue reading “Proposed redevelopment of warehouse across from new Bloomington park sets stage for debate on density and green space”

Leftover rezone request for warehouse next to Switchyard Park to start Bloomington plan commission’s year

A mixed-use development with 123 residential units, 184 parking spaces and 7,000 square feet of commercial space might be replacing the southern two-thirds of the warehouse just north of Hillside Drive next to Switchyard Park.

The development would also stretch south of Hillside Drive by one parcel.

To make a residential project possible at that location would require a rezone from the existing planned unit development zoning (PUD). The request is to maintain the PUD designation, but use different development standards from the existing PUD. A PUD is a kind of custom zoning, which includes its own custom development standards.

In December, plan commissioners voted unanimously to continue their deliberations until January, even though they appeared inclined to send the rezone proposal to the city council, with a positive recommendation.

A main sticking point for the city’s planning staff appeared to be the way townhomes are proposed to be oriented to the park. As the city’s development services manager Jackie Scanlan put it when she commented on the project renderings: “When you look down the sides of these buildings, you can tell that these are the sides of buildings, and we would prefer that they look like the front of buildings.”

Planning staff wanted to make sure that the development standards of the proposed PUD rezone—that is, the written narrative—require that the townhomes present their fronts to the park. An alternative to written development standards would be renderings that show townhomes facing the park.

That means the rezone request is set to be considered again by Bloomington’s plan commission at its first meeting of the year, on Jan. 11. Continue reading “Leftover rezone request for warehouse next to Switchyard Park to start Bloomington plan commission’s year”