A new apartment complex at the Johnson Creamery site will add 58 apartments in a 5-story building that also includes retail space facing the BLine.
The site is now a parking lot for the Johnson Creamery's office complex, which will remain – and where the Chamber's offices were previously located. It is between 7th and 8th Streets just west of the BLine.
There will be 27 studio units, 22 one-bedroom units, 5 two-bedroom units and 6 three-bedroom units, totaling 77 bedrooms. In addition, there will be 2,600 space of first-floor retail, 36 parking spaces under the building, and a green roof.
The Bloomington Plan Commission gave unanimous approval to the project at their July 13 meeting. Click here to read more.
At their June 23 meeting, the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners approved a $72,500 contract with Troyer Group Inc. to develop the Parks & Recreation 2021-2025 master plan.
Jonathon Geels with Mishawaka-based Troyer Group was on hand to describe the firm's work, including public engagement efforts that will include a combination of in-person meetings and the use of Miro, an online collaboration system.
A master plan is required in order to receive grants from the state and federal government and other sources. It is also required for accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
The funding for this project comes from the parks department's general fund budget.
Click here to watch the board's discussion of this item on CATS. More details are in the meeting packet, pages 53-65.
This was the first meeting for the board's newest commissioner, Ellen Rodkey. She also serves on the Chamber's board of directors.
The chimney of the historic Johnson's Creamery building is in need of repair, with recommendations that include demolishing the top 15 feet.
At their June 11 meeting, the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission heard a report on the issue. To do the work, the owners would need a demolition delay review, according to city staff. It is not located in an historic district, but the building is on the Historic Sites & Structures list.
Commissioners discussed their desire to designate the building as an historic structure. They also talked about recommending removal of the cellular antennas attached to the chimney, which cause damage from wind shear. It is technically considered a cell tower.
According to Commissioner Duncan Campbell, this is the second chimney for the building. The original one, built in 1949, was much taller, he said. The main building dates back to 1914. Campbell said he was alarmed to see that the chimney has deteriorated to such an extent.
Click here to view the discussion on CATS. Information about this project in the June 11 meeting packet starts on page 17.
Sign applications fees in Bloomington will be waived through Sept. 30, following action by Plan Commissioners on June 8. The move is one of several actions that the city is taking to help local businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fee waiver applies to temporary signs ($75 per application) and permanent signs ($125 per application).
In presenting the proposal, city attorney Mike Rouker noted that this was one of several requests made by the Chamber on behalf of the business community.
Watch the June 8, 2020 Plan Commission meeting here.
Local governments are making changes in response to threats from the coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Bloomington is reducing large in-person meeting effective March 16, including advisory board and commission meetings and several upcoming special events. Monroe County has canceled all board and commission meetings through March 25, other than meetings of the Board of Commissioners and County Council.
Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a Declaration of Public Health Emergency on March 6.
In a press release issued March 12, the Monroe County Health Department stated that employers should encourage telecommuting where possible and consider temporary changes to sick leave and/or hardship policies to address employee needs. Penny Caudill, the county's health administrator, also recommended implementing contingency staffing plans that will include flexible scheduling as well as temporary changes and exceptions to leave policies, in order to allow employees to take care of themselves or family members.
The Centers for Disease Control has created a guide for businesses to plan, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus. The Indiana State Department of Health and the Monroe County Health Department will also continue to update their sites as more information becomes available.
A vacancy has opened on the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners, following the recent resignation of Lisa Simmons Thatcher. Her resignation was announced at the board's Jan. 28 meeting.
The Chamber encourages our members to join advisory groups that guide the City of Bloomington and Monroe County government. Click here to apply for the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners. Appointments are made by the mayor.
This is the second change in membership over the past few months on the 4-member Board of Park Commissioners. Last year, long-time member Joe Hoffmann stepped down. Israel Herrera was recently appointed to that seat.
The Board of Park Commissioners meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. at Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton. The group oversees the city's Parks & Recreation Department, which includes the Community Farmers' Market.
Interested in serving on other boards or commissions? Click here for information about the City of Bloomington's advisory groups. For a list of Monroe County boards and commissions, click here.
Two board members for the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce – Lisa Abbott and Cindy Kinnarney – have been appointed to the Monroe County Redevelopment Commission and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission, respectively.
Lisa Abbott is executive vice president of the Bloomington Board of Realtors. Cindy Kinnarney is market president for First Financial Bank and serves as first vice chair on the Chamber board.
The Monroe County Redevelopment Commission, on which Lisa Abbott serves, is a five-member board that oversees projects in the county's tax-increment finance (TIF) districts. Three members of this commission are appointed by the County Commissioners and two members are appointed by the County Council. Jim Shelton, the Chamber's government relations manager, is also a member of the county RDC.
Cindy Kinnarney is the newest member of the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission, which oversees the city's Department of Housing & Neighborhood Development (HAND), including the city's TIF districts. Three members of this 5-member board are appointed by the mayor. The other two are appointed by the Bloomington Council.
The Chamber encourages our members to serve on advisory boards and commissions for local government. Click here for more information on how to find vacancies and apply.
The fate of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion will likely be decided within the next 48 hours. We need your help in ensuring our elected officials work together to agree on a governance structure so that this important project can move forward.
The Monroe County Council is poised to consider possibly repealing the Food & Beverage Tax, which funds the expansion, if no concrete progress is made by Friday afternoon.
The Chamber supports the creation of a Capital Improvement Board (CIB) as the governance structure for an expanded convention center. We support equal representation between the City of Bloomington and Monroe County, which has been agreed upon by both sides. The county commissioners have begun the process of creating a CIB and could make that final decision at their Dec. 11 meeting.
We are concerned that the palpable bitterness and distrust between the county commissioners and city administration could ultimately derail this project.
Please contact our Bloomington/Monroe County elected representatives to urge all parties to move forward with this project. Click here for contact information. See below for additional background, as well as information about upcoming public meetings where you can speak in person. Questions? Contact Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-336-6381.
Timeline of Upcoming Meetings
Here's a timeline of upcoming meetings and possible actions. For additional background on recent actions, read this article from the B Square Beacon.
The Bloomington Plan Commission has scheduled three additional meetings to consider amendments to the draft Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). All meetings start at 5:30 p.m.:
1) Duplexes, Triplexes and Quadplexes (Amendments 4A and 4B). In a six-hour meeting on Sept. 5, commissioners heard from 37 residents during a public hearing on the "plexes." In the draft UDO, plexes are a "conditional use" in core neighborhood zones, meaning that the project must go through the city's approval process in order to be built.
About half of the speakers were concerned about the additional density that such units would bring to the city's core neighborhoods, and argued that they shouldn't be allowed at all in those parts of the city. An equal number of speakers believed the city needs more housing stock of all kinds, and that this is one way to achieve that goal.
OUTCOME: Plexes will remain as a conditional use in core neighborhoods (in the UDO draft), after a Plan Commission amendment to make them permitted use (by right) failed on a 4-5 vote. Voting for by right were Brad Wisler, Nick Kappas, Flavia Burrell and Neil Kopper. Voting against were Beth Cate, Joe Hoffmann, Jillian Kinzie, Susan Sandberg and Karin St. John. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
2) Accessory Dwelling Units (Amendments 5A and 5B). Plan Commissioners considered these amendments on Sept. 10. In the draft UDO, ADUs were allowed by right. Amendment 5A – making ADUs a conditional use – passed on a 5-4 vote. Voting in favor: Joe Hoffmann, Susan Sandberg, Beth Cate, Jillian Kinzie, and Karin St. John. On an 8-1 vote (with Susan Sandberg opposing), Plan Commissioners also approved Amendment 5B, which increased the number of bedrooms and the permitted size of an ADU. As amended, ADUs will be allowed with up to 2 bedrooms and a maximum 840-square-foot size.
OUTCOME: In the UDO draft, ADUs will be a conditional use with up to 2 bedrooms allowed and an 840-square-foot maximum size. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
3) Payment-in-Lieu (Amendment 7). This amendment was brought forward by Commissioner Flavia Burrell, responding to a recommendation by the Chamber. The intent was to make the process of determining a payment-in-lieu more transparent by requiring approval from the Common Council. Staff objected to that process, however, so on Sept. 10 the Plan Commission amended out the approval requirement. The resulting language is vague and does not specify how the city determines the payment-in-lieu amount.
OUTCOME: Amendment 7 passed without the requirement that the Common Council adopt administrative procedures for calculating, collecting, accounting for and spending payment-in-lieu funds. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
Click here to see the city's UDO update site, with details about other amendments, links to the full UDO draft and ways to submit written comments.
At its Aug. 29 special meeting, the Bloomington Plan Commission 1) passed one “clean-up” amendment to the draft Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), 2) asked staff to develop six amendments for consideration on Sept. 5, and 3) directed staff to prepare another 11 UDO amendments to consider on Sept. 10 or at subsequent meetings.
Here’s a roundup of amendments that planning staff will be drafting for the Sept. 5 meeting. They were proposed by Planning Commission chair Joe Hoffmann and unanimously supported by the rest of the commission. The substance of the amendments will be debated and likely voted on at the Sept. 5 session, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at city hall council chambers.
UPDATE: It's likely that on Sept. 5 commissioners will only be deliberating on amendments related to duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes. The first set of draft amendments are now posted on the city's UDO update site.
For Sept. 10 or later meetings, here are amendments that planning staff will be drafting, based on Plan Commission requests (the name of the commissioner who proposed each amendment is indicated in parentheses):
Draft amendments are expected to be posted on the city's UDO update site before the Sept. 5 meeting.
The following were considered "clean-up" amendments and were passed unanimously by Plan Commissioners at their Aug. 29 meeting. The amendment allows duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes as permitted uses for new subdivisions and undeveloped locations of the city, while keeping these "plexes" as conditional uses for other areas. The most recent draft had inadvertently designated all duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes as conditional uses.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy